It is a fair question. In principle, minimum wage standards should be set at a level that covers basic needs. In principle, legal minimum wage levels are set through balanced, democratically supported social dialogue processes. The reality, however, is different.
As Oxfam points out in its recent report:
‘Minimum wages fall short of the cost of living in many countries as governments compete for investment in a global market. The minimum wage is seen as the ‘going rate’ rather than a floor. Corporate lobbying often reinforces the message that business wants light touch regulation.’
FWF’s work on living wages seeks to find practical ways to ensure workers receive wages that cover their basic needs. This goes hand-in-hand with our work to support the development of healthy social dialogue and efforts to raise legal minimum wages to a level workers can truly live on.