Lawrence Township, NJ Council Large Retail Living Wage and Benefits
Findings and Declaration of Policy:
Section 1. Findings and Declaration of Policy.
(a) The Lawrence Township Council declares that it is the policy of the Township to promote wages and benefits that allow working families in our community to meet basic needs.
(b) Many large retailers pay very low wages and do not provide their workers with adequate benefits, and many employees of large retailers, even full-time employees, qualify for a variety of public benefits such as Medicaid and food stamps.
(c) Responsible retailers that pay living wages and provide employee benefits, such as health care, face growing pressure to cut back when their competitors are permitted to pay poverty-level wages and no benefits.
(d) The adverse impact of large retailers that engage in such negative business policies and strategies is particularly harmful to workers, their families and the community because of the large scale of the operations of large retailers and their ability to pressure smaller businesses into following such practices to compete.
(e) Taxpayers are likely to see increased public costs when companies that provide health benefits either drop those benefits or are replaced by companies that do not, because more working families will be forced to obtain necessary care from public health clinics, public hospitals, emergency rooms, and publicly funded programs such as Medicaid.
(f) An increase in the percentage of low-wage jobs without benefits threatens the health and welfare of all Township residents because low-income working families without benefits have poor access to the health care system, lack preventive health care services, and are one step away from crushing financial debt should they fall sick.
(g) Large retailers are among our nation’s largest companies and can afford to provide better wages and pay a fair share of their employees’ health care costs while still operating profitably.
(h) In order to safeguard the economic well-being of the public, and to reduce the burden on the taxpayers and protect the public safety net, this Ordinance ensures that large retailers pay their workers a living wage and encourages them to provide important benefits.