Workforce Solutions Borderplex announces near $2 increase to living wage

EL PASO – A family of three, including two full-time working adults and one child, must earn no less than $14.39 per hour to be able to provide basic family needs without leaning on public assistance. Previously, the living wage was set at $12.51 per hour. The latest living wage, also referred to as family wage, was approved by the Workforce Solutions Board of Directors on September 16, and will serve as the benchmark for which occupations WSB participants are enrolled into training for the fiscal year beginning October 1. WSB will not invest into training for occupations that earn below this hourly wage.

Living wage earnings reflect the geographic costs related to supporting a family with basic necessities including food, childcare, health insurance, housing, transportation, civic needs (quality of life recreational activities and administrative expenses). According to the 2019 U.S. Census, the average household size is 2 adults and 1 child, from which WSB determined the standard living wage provided by the MIT Living Wage Calculator:

Each adult working full time ($59,879 ÷ 2) = $29,939

Hourly wage ($29,939 ÷ 2,080) = $14.39

Potential benefits of paying a family wage include:

  • The reduction of poverty and inequality
  • A stronger middle class, leading to a stronger local economy
  • The reduction of employee absenteeism and turnover
  • The improvement of employee morale and productivity
  • The reduction of dependency on costly social services

“The future ability of our economy to thrive is based on the living wage so that families can cover their most basic of needs,” Leila Melendez, CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex, said. “Anyone living below those wages poses a challenge for this economy to survive, much less thrive.”