Wonolo Becomes First Gig Economy Company to Pledge to Set a Universal Living Wage Standard

Written by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 03/25/2021

In a full page New York Times ad, Wonolo CEO Yong Kim urges business leaders to pay all workers a Living Wage

Wonolo Becomes First Gig Economy Company to Pledge to Set a Universal Living Wage Standard

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Wonolo, the leading online platform disrupting the temporary staffing industry, today urged the business community to pay hourly workers a Living Wage, and announced its goal of becoming the first gig company to ensure all workers using its app have the opportunity to earn at least the local Living Wage.

The Living Wage is defined at the county level and takes into account the local costs of food, housing, medical care, cell phones, and a broad array of additional variables to ensure workers earn enough to live on. The Living Wage is much higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. If every worker earned a Living Wage, millions would get a raise and be lifted out of poverty.

In a full page New York Times ad, Wonolo CEO Yong Kim urges business leaders to pay all workers a Living Wage.

Policymakers, economists, and workers are currently debating the merits of whether to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. That's a worthy goal, but comes with tradeoffs: $15/hour would be too low for workers to live on in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and other cities. And yet $15 would be much higher than the median wage in many cities and towns, putting pressure on small businesses at a time when they're still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Living Wage does a much better job of reflecting local economic realities and balancing the needs of workers and businesses. Already, about 75% of the jobs on Wonolo offer workers at least the Living Wage (and 100% of jobs on Wonolo are above the minimum wage). Our goal is to get to 100% of jobs to be offered at the Living Wage by the end of the year. And we'd like every company to pledge to do the same.

"Today, with millions of Americans unemployed and millions more underemployed, a paycheck matters more than ever. And that paycheck should be enough for people to live on. That's why we are raising the bar for workers everywhere by encouraging businesses to offer workers pay that's at least at the local Living Wage," Wonolo Co-founder and CEO Yong Kim said. "I encourage companies to join us by taking the Living Wage Pledge: a pledge to offer workers at least the local Living Wage."

Wonolo launched its pledge in a full-page ad in The New York Times.

The Living Wage Pledge is another milestone in Wonolo's effort to set the highest bar for gig workers using its app. Last year, Wonolo became the first gig company to give gig workers access to paid Flex Time Off (FTO) as part of a comprehensive set of portable benefits, like health and dental insurance. Wonolo also launched a pilot program through which workers can connect with online learning and professional skill development opportunities so they can learn portable skills to help them stand out in jobs both on and outside of the Wonolo platform.

Wonolo is basing the Living Wage on the Massachusetts of Technology (MIT) Living Wage Calculator. The calculator takes into account a broad set of variables to help determine the Living Wage down to the county level, including food, housing, medical care, transportation, cell phones, broadband, taxes, civic engagement activities (such as fees and admissions to local parks and museums), and other items necessary for workers to thrive where they live.

"The Living Wage calculator clarifies what workers need to cover their basic costs. Wonolo's use of the tool is a real advantage for workers, especially contingent workers. With the calculator, they don't have to guess whether the wage offered covers the average cost of living where they work," said Amy Glasmeier, co-creator of the calculator and professor of Economic Geography and Regional Planning at MIT.

Companies that support Wonolo's Living Wage Pledge include:

• Stride Health: "Here at Stride, our mission is to help independent workers get affordable benefits and achieve financial security, which is why we've enjoyed our partnership with Wonolo for several years now. Their Living Wage Pledge is another example of their efforts to support this massive and fast-growing segment of the American workforce, and we're proud to be alongside them in this effort." –Noah Lang, Co-founder and CEO of Stride.

• Keeper Tax: "We're proud to partner with Wonolo in helping independent workers outside of the traditional employment model understand and optimize their tax obligations. The Living Wage Pledge is another example of their forward-thinking initiative to support this massively underserved segment of Americans." –Paul Koullick, Co-founder and CEO of Keeper Tax.

• PadSplit: "As an affordable housing marketplace that serves lower income workers, we stand in solidarity with Wonolo and its efforts to increase pay. It's not enough to simply call workers 'essential' – we must treat them as such and offer them a Living Wage." –Atticus LeBlanc, Founder of PadSplit

• Kover.ai: "Wonolo is leading the charge to protect gig workers and provide the portable benefits they desire, this is a large reason why we partnered with them on Wonolo Up. Their pledge for a living wage is just one more reason we're proud to work with them on building the future of the gig economy." - Zack Peng, CEO Kover.ai

• Starship: "We support the modern workforce through the Living Wage Pledge. All workers – whether gig, contractors, or employees – deserve a Living Wage that empowers them to live the life they want to live." – Sean Engelking, CEO of Starship.

To join and learn more about the Living Wage Pledge go to: www.wonolo.com/livingwagepledge Join us to discuss this on Clubhouse on Thursday, 5:15 pm ET: https://www.joinclubhouse.com/event/M8A62oJ7

About Wonolo
Wonolo is an online platform that connects over 500,000 workers – or "Wonoloers" – to retail, e-commerce, distribution, fulfillment, and other types of blue collar, frontline jobs throughout the U.S and has done so since 2014. These "Work Now Locally" opportunities vary widely, from customer service, delivery, and event staffing to food production, warehousing, and manufacturing. Wonolo's mission is to make work flexible and fulfilling for everyone.