Living wages are those that are “high enough to allow workers to meet basic needs” (Thompson & Chapman, 2006, p.1).
“The living wage level is usually the wage a full-time worker would need to earn to support a family above federal poverty line, ranging from 100% to 130% of the poverty measurement” (Economic Policy Institute, 2002).
“A living wage ordinance requires employers to pay wages that are above federal or state minimum wage levels. Only a specific set of workers are covered by living wage ordinances, usually those employed by businesses that have a contract with a city or county government or those who receive economic development subsidies from the locality. The rationale behind the ordinances is that city and county governments should not contract with or subsidize employers who pay poverty-level wages” (Economic Policy Institute, 2002).

Thompson, J. & Chapman, J. (2006). The economic impact of local living wages. Retrieved May 16, 2006, from Economic Policy Institute (2002). EPI issue guide: Living Wage. Retrieved May 16, 2006, from