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Should a Living Wage Be Considered a Basic Human Right?

May 11, 2022

A minimum wage should cover basic needs, so it should be considered a basic human right. Your living wage should be able to cover your rent, utilities, food for you and your family, and other aspects that you need to survive AND thrive. It should also give you enough room to save for bigger purchases and handle emergencies. 

In other words, a minimum or living wage should allow families to remain clear of the poverty line and live a healthy life that everyone deserves to have. 

The Importance of Minimum Wage as per The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 

As per the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to a sustainable living standard that ensures their peace of mind and health. As per the ILO Minimum Wage Fixing Convention, countries should:

  • Set a living or minimum wage for all employees that can cover their and their family’s needs.

  • Administer the appropriate labor laws to ensure that wage is paid properly and on time. 

Minimum Wage in Illinois 

Illinois is one of the states that took these clauses seriously. As of January 1st, 2022, the minimum wage in Illinois has been increased to $12/hour. Additionally, Earnfare participants can earn up to $420 per month. The new living wage can be used to calculate the number of hours they took for SNAP Employment and Training. It can also be used to determine the maximum number of hours assigned. 

Cost of Living in Illinois 

The average cost of living in Illinois is approximately $43,981/year, one of the lowest in the US or compared to other states. With the minimum wage increased to $12 an hour, a resident of Illinois can enjoy a comfortable and sustainable life. Here are some of the factors that come into play:

Affordable and Accessible Healthcare 

Illinois is in the top 25 out of all US states regarding healthcare affordability and accessibility. This is important since healthcare can take a large chunk out of anyone's savings or wages. Illinois is one of the few states where out-of-pocket expenses are not high enough to affect the cost of living expenses, which ensures quick health access. 

Cold Winters

Illinois has one of the worst winters out of any state, so energy bills are usually high during this time. As energy usage is one of the costs determining the cost of living in a state, this factor can significantly drive up both expenditures. States that have a milder climate during the winter fare better in this case. 

Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates

If you have been a victim of workplace discrimination, you can and should pursue justice with help from a dedicated Chicago employment rights attorney. This is where the Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates can prove invaluable. 

Whether the discrimination was based on your sex, gender, age, religion, or other factors, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. We have represented employees in Chicago who were in the same predicament, as well as those whose employment was wrongfully terminated. Get in touch with us for a consultation today!