OdishaPlus Bureau

A worker in Odisha needs to earn ₹19,950.50 per month to have a decent life for themselves and their family, estimates WageIndicator Foundation.

The global non-profit working in the area of making accessible labour market information advocates implementation of living wages for enhancing the working conditions and lives of workers worldwide.

Living Wage cited for Indian States:
The foundation published the Living Wage estimates for over 165 countries on national WageIndicator websites, making Living Wage data available to all for free. This move aims to solve a crucial problem faced by many especially, to address the lack of free and up-to-date regional Living Wage estimates at global scale. The living wage estimates were published on International Workers’ Day, on the first of May.

Apart from Odisha, estimates of living wage of other Indian states has also been published by the Foundation. Monthly living wages are estimated for West Bengal to be around ₹19,260.74, while for Andhra Pradesh to be around ₹19,021.15.

Living Wage data for Odisha, 2023

In Odisha, the state government has proposed revision of the minimum wage from the current year, with the revision already in effect for the public sector. As per the provision, the minimum wages for unskilled labour have been enhanced to ₹450 per day, for semi-skilled to ₹500 per day, skilled to ₹550 per day & highly skilled labour to ₹600 per day.

Let’s compare the minimum wage with the living wage taking Odisha as an example. WageIndicator Foundation estimates ₹95.92 per hour as the living wage for Odisha which sums up to ₹767.36 per day. So, the ‘Living Wage’, as promoted by many economists & social scientists globally today, stands much above the daily ‘Minimum Wage’ of a highly skilled labour in Odisha. On a closer look, similar is the case in other parts of the country.

Paulien Osse

To mark the occasion of release of Living Wages estimates, Paulien Osse, Co-Founder of WageIndicator and Global Lead of the Living Wage Team affirms, “The Living Wage publication marks the culmination of 25 years of hard work. When WageIndicator launched a salary check in 2000, our goal was to ensure everyone knew what they may earn. By publishing our Living Wage estimates, we are removing a crucial barrier in wage negotiations, which hopefully ensures that you, your colleague, your boss, a truck driver, the nanny of your kids and employers and unions alike can engage in informed negotiations, creating fairer workplaces for all.”

What is a Living Wage?

The statutory minimum wage notified by various state governments, might not be enough for a decent living for workers and their families. To tackle this, the concept of Living Wage has been introduced.

The Living Wage is based on the cost of living and includes components such as food, water, housing, energy, public school, transport, clothing, phone (calls & data), unforeseen expenses, and taxes & social security. While living wages are not defined by law, but can help workers and trade unions in salary negotiations.

So, there is a need for living wage data, as in most countries the statutory Minimum Wage is lower than the estimated Living Wage. As per April 2024, in only 26 countries the national Minimum Wage is higher than WageIndicator’s Living Wage estimates.

Living wages in comparison with minimum wages across the world

Fulfilling a long-held promise to India’s workers?
The Government of India’s plans to work with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and move to a living wage system by 2025 will be a big boost for social welfare and workers in the country. Living wages advance the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and more importantly fulfil the promise laid out in Article 43 of the Indian Constitution as a Directive Principle of State Policy.

The Article 43 states, “Living wage, etc., for workers. —The State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.”

 The annually updated Living Wage estimates by WageIndicator Foundation are available in national languages and currencies. The publication is supported by funders, who include IKEA, Schneider Electric and Unilever (as Partners), The Hershey Company and PMI (as Sponsors), and Fairphone and dsm-firmenich (as Supporters), among others, a release by the foundation informs.

WageIndicator is the first organisation to make Living Wage estimates at this scale freely accessible to all. The publication comes ten years after WageIndicator started its Living Wage database. The published Living Wage estimates are the latest addition to WageIndicator’s extensive list of freely accessible global data on Minimum Wages, Salaries, Labour Laws, and Collective Agreements.

WageIndicator’s Living Wage estimates have been developed and maintained by the collaborative efforts of hundreds of data collectors around the world, as well as universities and research institutes like the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI) in Slovakia; the Central European University in Austria; FLAME University and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in India; the University of Utrecht and Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands; and Masaryk University in Czechia.


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