Introducing the

Just Wage
Initiative

Just Wage Forum 2021

Criterion 7: Wage Considers Performance, Qualification, and Type of Work

A just wage reflects compensation for experience, education, and training; it is informed by regularized and standardized evaluations measuring job performance; and it is part of a wage structure featuring transparent and fair delineations of titles, functions, and job descriptions.

Wage considers performance, qualification, and type of work

Catholic social teaching emphasizes that the methods used to determine a wage are just as important as the compensation itself when evaluating a wage’s fairness and equity. In practice, this suggests pay determinations rooted in transparency, standardization, acknowledgement of a worker’s contributions, AND the worker’s inherent human value and rights. As Pope John XXIII notes in Mater et Magistra (1961), "the remuneration of work is not something that can be left to the laws of the marketplace; nor should it be a decision left to the will of the more powerful."  Moreover, a just wage framework must consider “the effective contribution which each individual makes to the economic effort.”

 

KEY CST PASSAGES

“We therefore consider it Our duty to reaffirm that the remuneration of work is not something that can be left to the laws of the marketplace; nor should it be a decision left to the will of the more powerful. It must be determined in accordance with justice and equity; which means that workers must be paid a wage which allows them to live a truly human life and to fulfill their family obligations in a worthy manner. Other factors too enter into the assessment of a just wage: namely, the effective contribution which each individual makes to the economic effort, the financial state of the company for which he works, the requirements of the general good of the particular country — having regard especially to the repercussions on the overall employment of the working force in the country as a whole — and finally the requirements of the common good of the universal family of nations of every kind, both large and small.”
-- Pope John XXIII, Mater et Magistra (Christianity and Social Progress), 1961 (71)

 

“The opportunity, moreover, should be granted to workers to unfold their own abilities and personality through the performance of their work. Applying their time and strength to their employment with a due sense of responsibility, they should also all enjoy sufficient rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social and religious life. They should also have the opportunity freely to develop the energies and potentialities which perhaps they cannot bring to much fruition in their professional work.”
-- Pope Paul XI, Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope), 1965 (67)

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