There is an interesting call from Church Action on Poverty to ensure that the hourly wage of Church workers meets a minimum of Â£6.80.
This is expanded on by Ekklesia here.
This relates to my recent item Exactly Who is Doing the Giving?.
My two comments are:
1. The Poverty line in this country is a relative income which is a certain proportion of the average (or perhaps median, I can’t remember) income. This is a bit bizarre because as society gets wealthier the poverty line moves up – so getting further and further from the ‘real’ poverty line. Some countries use a ‘real’ poverty line where the calculation is based on people being able to afford certain basics including food and shelter.
2. Providing the legal minimum wage to a worker is often a way of getting a balance between the worker giving and the worker being provided for (and the providers of the wage doing the giving) – see my post mentioned above.
For a Christian worker to get a high wage and then give money to other things is very tax uneffective. For example the incremental tax rate (including tax credits, NI contributions, etc.) for two parents (of two kids) on the minimum wage is around 62% – i.e. if they earn an extra Â£1,000 in one year (perhaps doing overtime, or perhaps through a pay rise) they only see a net increase in income of Â£380. This is a massive tax rate which is interesting to compare with the rate of tax refund on ‘Gift Aid’ giving of only 22%.
Basically if you want to give it is better to be able to do this by accepting a lower wage (and effectively giving of your time to some degree) than having a higher wage and giving money. This is more tax efficient to the tune of Â£400 per Â£1,000 extra pay (in certain circumstances).