In 2011, the National Employment Law Project reported that 125 local governments had living wage laws and some cities had more than one. State and local living wage laws require rates that range from $9 to $16 per hour, according to the National Employment Law Project. Some have multiple rates such as Maryland; its living wage rates are $12.49 and $9.39 per hour, depending on the city or county. Los Angeles County's living wage is $11.84 without health benefits or $9.64 with health benefits valued at $2.20 per hour or more. The 2012 federal minimum wage was $7.25 an hour.
A living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs, including shelter (housing), clothing, nutrition, etc. We need to enforce living wage now because raising minimum is not enough to support workforce labors' basic needs and wellbeing, businesses will gain long-term benefits from paying living wage, and government will be able to reduce expenses on social programs. It is important that government requires that all employers pay living wage. Employees surviving at minimum wage are also often the same people who must rely on additional support of government run social programs to support themselves and their families on such a small amount of income. Raising minimum wage means some of these people would be able to better support themselves without leaning as heavily on social programs. This would ultimately mean lower taxes or a reallocation of those funds to support other needs. .
Many will say that an enforced living wage standard present a challenge to independent businesses and specialty shops that do not have the budget to pay staff the way corporations do. .
The solution to this problem, many people would agree, is that the government needs to enforce a living wage to support workforce labors' wellbeing and basic needs. However, the solution to this dilemma is far more complex than that.