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Living Wage Model


Throughout Scripture, God commands us to treat workers with respect, dignity, and fairness. Exploitation or underpayment of workers is incompatible with Christ's commandment to love our neighbor

-a love that extends to all persons in all places, including the workplace. The Old Testament and New Testament include explicit warnings to those who would withhold fair pay to workers. "Woe to him . . . who makes neighbors work for nothing and does not give them their wages" (Jeremiah 22:13). "Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts" (James 5:4).

A century ago, the Methodist Episcopal Church, in adopting the first social creed, responded to this call for worker justice by proclaiming support for "a living wage in every industry" (1908 Social Creed). Today, The United Methodist Church reaffirms its historic support for the living wage movement and calls upon businesses and governments to adopt policies to ensure employees are paid sufficient wages to afford shelter, food, clothing, health care and other basic expenses, according to local costs of living.

In calling for a living wage in every industry, The United Methodist Church recognizes its own responsibility to model fair and faithful compensation. To this end, The United Methodist Church adopts the living wage as a model for justice in the world and in the household of faith, holding all levels of the church accountable-local United Methodist congregations, annual conferences, and their agencies, the general church and its agencies-to adjust compensation for all employees, including support staff, to effect the following:

  • reflect the local cost of living;
  • provide for adequate health coverage for employees and their dependents;
  • provide mechanisms for training, promotion, and advancement for all United Methodist employees at all levels; and
  • ensure that fair and consistently applied personnel policies pertain to all employees of The United Methodist Church and its agencies.

revised and readopted 2008
resolution #217, 2004 Book of Resolutions
resolution #210, 2000 Book of Resolutions

See Social Principles, ¶ 163B and C.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2008. Copyright © 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.