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Catholic Dictionary




The compensation given to a worker, based on family responsibilities. Two criteria are recognized in Catholic moral science, according to which a living wage may be either absolute or relative. These criteria are spelled out in the social encyclicals of the modern popes.

An absolute living wage is based on an average wage for family living, in which all workers who perform the same tasks receive the same pay. This is irrespective of whether they are married with children, married without children, or single. A relative living wage is based on the concrete family situation and responsibilities of each worker, in which the pay varies according to one's marital status and the number of dependents to be supported.