Local businesses take advantage of Kansas City’s living wage initiative

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Around a year ago, Kansas City’s City Council created the living wage registry.

The living wage is the income someone needs to have a decent standard of living and to be able to afford food, shelter and clothing.

Employers that pay more than the federal standard can sign up and make their pay rates known to the community. Kansas City’s living wage, based on the cost of living, is $11.25 per hour.

The wage fluctuates based on where someone lives. Kansas City leaders say paying a living wage makes it easier for working class employees to provide for themselves and their families.

Employers who sign up for the registry get a sticker to display on their building in order to let the community know that they’re, “Proud to Pay.”

Missouri’s minimum wage is $8.60 an hour and it’s mandated by the state. Kansas City’s living wage is $11.25 an hour, which is voluntary.

“Unfortunately the state of Missouri does not allow our city to act alone to raise the minimum wage, so we created this as a way to create public awareness about the need for a living wage,” said Chris Hernandez, a spokesperson for the City of Kansas City.

Kansas City leaders say the living wage is different than minimum wage because the minimum wage can sometimes fail to meet requirements to have a basic quality of life, which can leave families dependent on government assistance.

“I think we’ve already achieved the main goal, which is to raise awareness and find a way to honor those businesses that pay the living wage,” Hernandez said.

Next year, Kansas City’s living wage will go up to $12.50 an hour. By 2022, it will have increased to $15.00.

Follow this link for the full list of employers that are part of the registry.

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