There’s an economic revolution happening in a small apparel factory in the city of Villa Altagracia, in the Dominican Republic. Three years ago, the Alta Gracia factory became the first apparel factory in the developing world to pay their workers a living wage, one calculated to meet a family’s basic needs. In Alta Gracia’s case, this living wage is 3.5 times the prevailing wage in other factories in the Dominican Republic and was calculated to provide adequately for a family of four. In U.S. dollars, this amounts to a wage jump from $216/month to $759/month. Such a significant increase in income clearly benefits workers and their families, but there are upsides for employers as well. Paying a living wage attracts a highly skilled and productive workforce, decreases training and oversight costs, reduces rates of turnover and absenteeism, and satisfies customer demand for ethically sourced goods.
October 28, 2013