The right to a living wage is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in article 23 paragraph 3:
Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration, ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented if necessary by other means of social protection.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has included the right to a living wage in various conventions, especially:
- Conventions 131 and 156 and Recommendations 131 and 135
- The Constitution of the ILO in 1919
- The Philadelphia Declaration of 1944
- And the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation 2008
What is a living wage?
The Clean Clothes Campaign defines it as one that:
- Applies to all workers: there should be no lower wage paid
- Is paid for a standard week’s work that may under no circumstances exceed 48 hours
- Is composed of a basic salary for a standard working week, excluding special allowances, bonuses or overtime
- Covers basic needs of the employee and his/her family, on the basis of a family of two adults and two children
- Allows employees a discretionary amount of income that represents at least 10% of the amount required to cover his or her basic needs.