ISSUE AREA: INCOME

NETWORK believes in the dignity of work and the right to meaningful work for all. National legislation should move from adjusting a minimum wage to creating a living wage.
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Our Position

Supporting a living wage is one of the most effective ways people of faith can uphold the dignity of work. Catholic Social Justice teaches that work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. Because all work is valuable, all workers must be properly compensated. NETWORK and Catholic Social Justice support an economy that puts people, not profit, at the center; where each person can find a job that provides for her or his family.

Respecting the dignity of work, NETWORK supports a living wage that enables workers to meet their needs with one job and reasonable hours. A minimum wage is not enough; we must have living wages.

NETWORK Advocates for Federal Policies That:

Establish a living wage to ensure all workers are able meet the economic needs of themselves and their families

Our nation’s current minimum wage is too low. A worker making minimum wage, $7.25 per hour, working 40 hours a week 52 weeks a year would receive a pre-tax salary of $15,080. In 2016, the federal poverty threshold for a single person was $12,228 per year, and for a family of four it was $24,563. For workers who rely on tips, including restaurant staff and hotel housekeepers, the minimum wage has been locked in at $2.13 since 1991. The current minimum wage leaves families in poverty, even though they might be working full time, and it does not account for regional differences in cost of living across the country.

A living wage is integral to our understanding of work. Living wages ensure workers can care for themselves and their families and meet their housing, nutrition, health and other needs regardless of where they live.  Wages must allow a worker to provide for themselves and their families. A crucial step in achieving a living wage is increasing our current minimum wage and indexing improvements to inflation.

Require employers to pay equitable wages and provide safe, healthy, and humanizing working conditions for all workers

Exploitation of workers through wage theft and other unjust practices are commonplace, particularly among undocumented workers and other people of color.

NETWORK continues to call for workplace policies and employment protections that show care for women and other vulnerable workers. One of the most effective ways to ensure workplaces and employers are accountable to their employees is through promotion of unions. Collective bargaining allows workers to organize for better conditions. Employers must also be held accountable to abide by employment health and safety standards as well as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

Pursue full employment

Lack of jobs and requirements to provide benefits, like healthcare to employees working over a certain amount of hours, lead to underemployment of many workers who are interested and able to work a full day.

Full employment is the foundation of a just economy. It benefits society, as well as individual workers. As workers are engaged in meaningful work, they are better able to contribute to the common good and to the productivity of a healthy economy. Full-time work at a living wage makes it possible for workers to contribute to local, state, and federal revenue streams by patronizing local businesses and paying their fair share of taxes.

Policy Solutions
  • Raise the Minimum Wage
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • End Wage Theft
  • Green jobs
  • Collective Bargaining
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)