The moral standard of the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) for a just wage is not the Minimum wage as prescribed by the government or by the Regional Wage and Productivity Board as in the case of the Philippines, but the Family wage. The following things are important for the employer to consider in determining the wage of the worker: The needs and contribution of the worker and the condition of his/her business.
If a worker is regular or permanent in the company with an employee-employer relationship, s/he deserves a family wage regardless whether s/he has a family or not. The just wage for the Church is one that is able to sustain the personal and family needs of the worker, without requiring the other spouse (if married) to work:
"In the first place, the worker must be paid a wage sufficient to support him [or her] and his [or her] family…It is an intolerable abuse, and to be abolished at all cost, for mothers, on account of the father’s low wage, to be forced to engage in gainful occupations outside the home to the neglect of their proper cares and duties, especially the training of children”(Quadragesimo Anno, n. 71).
The CST’s teaching on just wage is stricter than what the labor law requires. It is even beyond the standards of a living wage which allow both spouses to be employed. In CST, the other spouse, especially the wife, is not required to be employed in order to receive the just wage which must be sufficient to support a family with a normal size. The Church is thinking of the role of the other spouse in child rearing and teaching the children about the Christian way of life. If both spouses are employed to receive the living wage, the moral and human development of the children would be jeopardized as well as the institution of the family as the domestic church in society.
The criteria in formulating the level of wage, for the Church, is not the wage contract, but the actual needs of the worker and his family. It is not what is agreed upon between the employer and employee: “Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages” (CCC, n. 2434). More often, the wage stipulated in the work contract is lower than what the worker must receive to sustain his personal and family needs. Sometimes this contract is manipulated by the employer to reduce production cost. Written as a contract of adhesion, the worker is sometimes forced to accept and sign the agreement prepared by the employer through their lawyer even if some of its provisions are detrimental to his/her welfare. Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages:
"A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work… In determining fair pay, both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. Remuneration for work should guarantee humans the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for themselves and their family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good" (Gaudium et Spes, #67).
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