Living Wage Certification

Toward a Decent Standard of

Living for American Workers

Would you like to be among the first employers to become Living Wage On-Up certified? We are developing the standard now and would be happy to speak with you about what to expect, how to provide input, and what you can do to get ready for certification once we launch. Just send us a message with your contact details and we will be in touch shortly.

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The Business Case

Profit, Reputation, Performance and Social Responsibility

Top academic institutions, CEOs and other business leaders are already talking about the benefits of  living wages, and the need to address income inequality. See below what some of them are saying. We’d also love to hear your story. Let us know how living wages have helped improve your business. Email info@livingwageonup.org today!

  • By paying higher wages than other wholesale retailers, Costco significantly reduced its employee turnover rate, which, at 17%, remains unusually low (for comparison, Walmart has 44% turnover per year, a rate closer to the industry average). Costco also experiences greater productivity and lower levels of employee theft.

    Harvard Business Review
  • After the San Francisco airport implemented a living wage policy, 35% of employers reported improved work performance; 47% reported better employee morale; 44% fewer disciplinary issues; and 45% better customer service.

    University of California Berkley
  • With higher than industry-standard pay, Trader Joe's turnover rate is substantially below that of traditional supermarkets, at only 4% annually.

    Pepperdine University business journal
  • When UK living wage employer craft beer brewery, BrewDog, raised pay for 180 workers, annual turnover rates at retail sites fell by 40%. In one store it dropped from 240% to 60%.

    UK Living Wage Foundation
  • For every $1 payroll increase, a store could see a monthly sales increase of $4 to $28.

    Wharton School of Business, UPENN
  • Trader Joe’s, which pays its employees a starting salary of $40,000 - $60,000 per year, has a sales revenue per square foot three times higher than the average U.S. supermarket.

    Christine L. Owens, National Employment Law Project
  • For 20 years, Ben & Jerry's livable wage policy has ensured that wages match an assessment of local living costs, and they still "outsell the overall U.S. ice cream market and profits are at the top end of the industry

    Jeff Furman, Ben & Jerry's Board Chair Emeritus
  • 86% of UK Living Wage Foundation certified employers reported enhanced reputation

    Cardiff University
  • What we desperately need now is not to abandon free market capitalism, but to correct its vision: to restore its broader sense of responsibility to multiple stakeholders, to our society as a whole.

    Peter Georgescu, Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam
  • Paying a living wage means people can get married, start families, buy homes and contribute more to our communities. It’s a part of the 'virtuous circle', ...where paying your employees a living wage pays off in a multitude of immeasurable ways that all add up to less customer churn, higher average revenue per customer, wider profit margins and an overall healthier bottom line.

    Hari Ravichandran, CEO of Endurance International Group

The Benefits of Living Wage On-Up Certification

Communication to potential hires

Certified employers will be listed on our website, easily searchable by job seekers and others. In the UK, Cardiff University found that over half of UK Living Wage accredited employers reported improved recruitment and retention, while nearly half (45%) reported that accreditation had ‘improved the quality of job applicants’.

Living wage estimates that apply to all employees in a location

We partner with the MIT Living Wage Calculator to produce one living wage figure for an average-sized family in a given location that is objective, practicable, transparent and consistent across certified employers.

Investor, donor, worker and consumer confidence
Living wage certification, unlike other certifications or social rankings, assures American investors, consumers and workers that living wages are being paid, addressing the issue they care about most according to JUST Capital’s 2018 survey.
Publicity for living wage employers
Our innovative, dynamic and expansive social media content promotes certified employers. Short documentary films capture and present the positive impact of living wages on workers and families.
Membership in a peer coalition
Certified employers and those working toward certification can join our peer coalition, with access to working groups and annual conferences, to discuss strategies, share lessons and explore related topics such as living wages in supply chains.
Global alignment
We are aligned on core principles with other national and international certifications, such as the UK Living Wage Foundation, and our founders were involved in the leadership of the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC). These experiences and collaborations make possible consistent application of living wage across global operations.
Guidance and tools
Our member guidances and tools aid living wage implementation in the U.S, while global working groups support those wanting to implement internationally.
Improved lives for workers and their families
Living wage by definition is sufficient to cover a family’s essential needs with savings for unexpected events. In its absence, millions of American families struggle to put food on the table or pay for adequate healthcare and childcare. According to the United Way, this is reality for 50.8 million US households.