In its latest annual report, the National Low Income Housing Coalition has found that an individual working a full-time minimum wage job can’t afford a modest 2-bedroom apartment in the US. On average, one would need to make $22.10 per hour to afford a 2-bedroom apartment and $17.90 per hour for a one-bedroom. That’s much higher than federal minimum of $7.25. The report found only 22 counties in five states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington-- where minimum wage workers could afford a one-bedroom. Add this to the growing list of considerations benefits professionals need to contemplate. Employees who have difficulty finding affordable housing tend to commute farther or spend more than the recommended 30% of their income on housing. This results in financial stress and or long commutes. Both can have negative effects on health. A detailed analysis of your internal labor market can help you identify employee segments that may be struggling with long commutes and housing challenges. You can use this information to develop HR and benefits strategies from different health options to more flexible working arrangements to better support these employees and their health.
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