The amount of money is takes to maintain a normal standard of living will now be guaranteed to those working for the Middlesex London Health Unit.
Health unit employees were already offered what’s called a “living wage” but their contract workers, including cleaning and security staff, were not always making a living wage.
The health board approved the changes Thursday evening, which would allow for workers to maintain a normal standard of living and works out to roughly $15 an hour in the region.
“The total impact I believe will be about 0.08% of our budget so less than a-tenth of one percent of our budget, so I feel it’s a pretty good investment,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie.
“We’ve had many issues come up with not paying people living wages – people missing shifts, high employee turnover in our contracted out services. We’ve even had examples of employee theft. We have lots of really good contracted employees who do a great job and lots of challenges as well. Without getting into details for privacy reasons, it’s pretty clear to us that many of the challenges we’ve had with our contracted employees are directly related to not paying a living wage.”
Dr. Mackie stresses that while minimum wage is mandated, living wage is an option that most employers in the region endorse. As for the MLHU, Dr. Mackie says it makes good business sense.
“We’re looking forward to having a strong, stable workforce. We feel that it will improve performance, improve employee retention, and make a good difference for our organization. if you’re not making a living wage it’s difficult, in many places impossible, to afford a home, a health home, healthy food and all the medications, other things you need to take care of yourself.”
The living wages will be implemented as current contracts roll over.