A living wage meets a worker’s basic needs to maintain a safe, decent standard of living for the worker and their family.
SAI & Living Wage
SAI has included payment of a living wage as one of our core principles for decent work since our founding in 1997, long before the idea was widely accepted by other organizations and companies. Our SA8000 Standard has emphasized the importance of a living wage for workers’ rights since the very beginning, and we have worked individually with brands and retailers for over 25 years on strategies to improve wages in their companies and supply chains. SAI works across all of our programs to advance decent wages, work towards a living wage, and promote decent work. Through rigorous analysis of policies and actions at both the management and operations levels, SAI strives to support organizations on every step of their living wage journeys.
Our Living Wage Partnerships
Global Living Wage Coalition
In 2013, SAI co-founded the Global Living Wage Coalition with other standard-setting organizations to establish a common definition of living wage, to promote a common and robust methodology for calculating a local living wage (The Anker Methodology), and to support living wage implementation work. The Coalition has two main pillars of work: research and implementation.
Anker Research Institute
The Anker Research Institute is a founding partner of and forms the research core of the Global Living Wage Coalition. Its mission is to engage in and disseminate high quality research, analysis, and training related to living wage and living income (based on the Anker methodology). the Global Living Wage Coalition. The Anker Research Institute produces its publicly available living wage and income studies, along a research network made up of dozens of individual researchers in various countries. SAI is the institutional host of the Research Network, lending support based on our long experience with developing and operating training programs and quality management systems.
Read more about Anker Living Wage and Income Reports
The Anker methodology is widely accepted as the gold standard for measuring living wages and living incomes and has played an important role in catalyzing wage and income improvement in global supply chains. The Anker Research Institute’s living wage and living income research span four main categories.
- Living Wage and Living Income Benchmarks: Anker Living Wage and Living Income studies provide high-quality, accurate, and internationally comparable living wage benchmarks. These studies, using the Anker Methodology, are based on rigorous and thorough research by the Institute’s international network and local worker input.
- Living Wage and Living Income Reference Values: Anker Reference Values are living wage and living income estimates based on a regression analysis of the quality-assured Anker Living Wage and Income studies that have been carried out so far. They are used to predict separate average net living wages in the absence of benchmark study.
- Subnational Estimates: Subnational values provide regional, quality-assured studies based on a regression analysis of quality-assured Anker Benchmark studies and available data that are specific to certain industries and regions. These studies are typically commissioned and apply to workers within the scope.
- Working Papers: Working papers and thematic studies explore specific issues under the umbrella topic of living wages, such as living wages for migrant, calculating gender pay gaps, and employing in-kind benefits as a partial payment of living wages.
Living wage and living income estimates calculated using the Anker Methodology provide a baseline for SAI’s living wage gap assessments. Wage gap analysis will illustrate a comparison with the regional living wage estimates for each facility with wages across the chain.
Companies can also consider becoming a Living Wage and Income Corporate Sponsor. If you are a company that wants to learn more about working with the Anker Research Institute to produce their living wage and income estimates, visit their website.
Our Living Wage Offerings
Wage Gap Assessment and Toolkit
SAI can help analyze the current wages of a company’s workers and contractors in key countries, assess the costs and benefits, and measure potential gaps between the current wages and living wage estimates.
Living wage gap analysis toolkits and trainings provide more insight into what gaps need to be addressed and build a foundation for implementing a living wage within a supply chain. Here is an example of a component in the toolkit and topics covered during training workshops:
Organizing and analysing payroll data by different components and forms of payment, such as:
- Cash allowances
- Bonuses, (e.g. productivity, attendance, annual, holiday, etc.)
- Overtime pay
- In-kind benefits
- Piece-rate/output-based pay systems
SAI also provides wage gap assessment and analysis services on a specialized project basis.
Strategic Roadmap for Implementation
SAI will work with leadership to help identify priority areas, assess risks, and advise on strategies for implementing living wages throughout a company or supply chain, integrating due diligence measures at every level.
The strategic roadmap for implementation is a practical outline for making living wages a reality. SAI will help identify priority areas and advise on strategies for implementing living wages throughout a company or supply chain. This will include:
- A summary of findings from several analyses and internal research
- Specific guidance and timelines based on relevant milestones
- A review of a company’s internal processes and performance
- Recommendations for living wage implementation strategies based on our findings organized by highest to lowest impact
This, in addition to the gap analysis toolkit and trainings, will enable companies to identify a starting point for implementing living wages, create actionable steps toward full implementation, and measure their progress along their journey, applying due diligence measures at each stage of the process.
Living Wage Training
Through our public course and private customized trainings, SAI has trained hundreds of stakeholders around the world from brands, retailers, governments, and audit firms on the basics of living wage. Learn more about our living wage trainings by clicking the links in the sidebar.
Living Wage Resources
SA8000® Resource Center As creator and owner of the SA8000 Standard, SAI is proud to offer a wide selection of resources to help organizations of all types achieve SA8000 certification and continuously improve within the Standard. More about SA8000 I would like to… Learn about getting SA8000 certified See the list of certified organizations See…
A Case Study in Living Wage Implementation Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu is a major knitwear-producing city in Southern India with a long history of tense relations between the key stakeholders for wage issues—government, employers, and unions. Diverse modes of employment, complex and discordant reporting requirements, and widespread legal uncertainty have kept wages in Tiruppur far below…
The SA8000® Standard is the leading social certification standard for factories and organizations across the globe. It was established by Social Accountability International in 1997 as a multi-stakeholder initiative. Over the years, the Standard has evolved into an overall framework that helps certified organizations demonstrate their dedication to the fair treatment of workers across industries and in any country.…
The Global Living Wage Coalition was founded by a group of standard-setting organizations (including SAI) to establish a common definition of living wage and to promote a common methodology for calculating it. The Coalition defines a living wage as: The remuneration received for a standard workweek by a worker in a particular place sufficient to…
Partner With Us
If you are a brand, SA8000®-certified company, corporate partner, or other stakeholder interested in improving wages or implementing a living wage in your company or supply chain, we can help.