What is the point in having a minimum wage if that wage doesn’t actually provide people with basic life necessities? McDonald’s employees and Garment workers feel this burn. This is where the living wage comes into play. The Asia Floor Wage Alliance has done a phenomenal job at not only identifying the factors that create the living wage but also making it translatable given the change in currency and cost of goods country to country. So, when you are researching garment factories to produce your collection, it is vital that you are educated on that country’s living wage and that your factory is paying their garment workers at or above that salary. Here are the 8 factors that determine a living wage (and their corresponding salaries in Asia to give you a head start).
1 | Family Unit
The biggest factor that affects all the remaining living wage components is the family unit. Not only should a living wage support one person’s basic needs, but also the needs of their children and spouse.
2 | Food
Because not all of us are on a fashion diet.
3 | Housing
Because in order to raise the roof, one must first live under it.
4 | Healthcare
Because we hear kids get sick… oh wait, and we do too.
5 | Clothing
Because not all are called to be exhibitionists.
6 | Transportation
Because hitchhiking is not efficient.
7 | Education
Because everyone has a right to choose their future.
8 | Savings
Because when you choose a future you must also prepare to make it happen.
Now factor each of these costs per country for a family unit and you’ll begin to find a massive disparity between many country’s minimum wage, and their actual living wage. To make it easy for you, take a look at the living wage graph created by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance below.
And since this graph was created in 2013, the Asia Floor Wage Alliance has also provided a quick update, by country, of what your garment worker salaries should be.
If you are serious about taking your business in an ethical direction, we would love to talk to you about your manufacturing and how we can close that gap for you. Our relationships with high quality, people-focused factories can make your brand an ethical fashion brand just by doing business as usual.