Equitable Wage Guide

This guide was created in response to a reoccurrence of CoLab contributors not knowing the best rates to charge for their work. This document was created by the Capacity+ team to help guide people towards arriving at a fairer monetary value for their time, and to give people more confidence in their ‘rate’.

This document is being published on the CoLab website as its usefulness is organisation and network agnostic.

Feedback on this document has identified that it is quite complex and long… and we knowledge this issue but want to publish it despite this as it is helping some in its current form. A diagram version has been proposed and may be produced. Feedback and suggestions are welcome in the comments section of this page.

Feel free to use or adapt this guide with the following license;

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


A perfect equitable waging system is impossible to create due to the uniqueness of every individual and their circumstances. Any attempt at a formula would inevitably include coded biases and therefore inequities.

We have to build towards equity. Equity, like a home, is a human right. Lifting barriers, restoring rights, and protecting those most vulnerable is just maintenance. Everyone needs to help maintain this home we call equity, because it only works when everyone does their share.” – Salomé Chimuku (Samples from PDF here).

We offer here a suggested guide for working out your hourly rate… with some examples to illustrate it.

Core goals of this guide

1. People Care – arrive at an hourly rate which is at least enough for you to pay for enough food, shelter, clothing, basic needs, with dignity, and if an individual manages their budget they can break free from the cycle of poverty.

2. Fair share – if you experience privilege you don’t take more than is necessary, therefore leaving more for those with less privilege. Likewise if you have less privilege this is compensated by an increased pay rate.

3. Earth Care – creating and promoting realistic career pathways and livelihoods which increase environmental restoration & regeneration efforts amplifies the transition to an ecologically prosperous future.

Starting rate

Here we share a suggested structure for working out what you should request as financial compensation for your time.

As a starting point/figure we’ll divide the average annual wage by the average hours worked per annum. As a starting point we’ll use the ‘OECD – Total’ as a source for statistics;

– $48,587 USD average wages (approximately £35,530)

– 1726 average hours worked per annum

This equates to £20.59 per hour.

OECD-Total’ comprises all member countries of the OECD. These are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

Generally speaking the above list consists of wealthier countries.

If you live in a country not listed in the OECD member countries, you should still use the same starting point.

Living wage relative to the cost of living in your area is preferable if this data is available.

The cost of living starting point is to take into consideration models such as Doughnut Economics (see video below), which balance ecological boundaries and human rights, arguing that not only should those living in relative scarcity have access to more resources so as to satisfy their needs but that also wealthier countries need to reduce their consumption of resources in order to achieve a balanced ‘doughnut’.

Doughnut Economics explained

As the permaculture CoLab is an internationally distributed workspace seeking to find a generative balance between earth care and people care via fair share, we encourage you to examine your cost of living and set a personal wage which meets your need, not your greed.

Adjustments to starting rate

Using £20.59 per hour as a starting point, work through the points below and make adjustments up and/or down from the base rate to arrive at your final amount.

1. Inherited wealth

a) Inherited wealth + gifts

Principle: as a social justice measure, those who have inherited wealth have less need and so get paid less. Therefore Capacity+ should aim here for a policy not of punishing the wealthy but of re-distribution so that those in greatest need are supported more. Inherited wealth and a person’s ability to ‘donate’ labour can become critical. Donation of labour can have the effect of removing the pressure for a fair and living wage, with only priviledged persons able to work or volunteer. This can determine (and limit) the social composition of people working in environmental (and other) organisations.


Add up all realisable (see 1b) cash, property, investments (eg funds, stocks, shares) and other assets (eg cars) that they have inherited or been given during their lifetimes. They need only include amounts over £1,000.

A ‘decrement’ of 5% is then subtracted from the salary for the first £25,000 received, (plus a further 1% per each further £5,000), up to a maximum of £200,000 received.


Starting at £20.59 per hour

Someone who has received inheritance and gifts of £80,000 (at current prices) is paid £20.59 – 16% = £17.30 per hour

Someone who has received inheritance and gifts of £500,000 (round down to £200,000) is paid £20.59 – 40% = £12.35

(assuming no other increments)

b) Non-realisable assets

Principle: Capacity+ recognises that there is a substantive difference between realisable inherited assets (ie those that can be immediately accessed by the owner) and non-realisable assets (ie. those that while technically ‘owned’ cannot be accessed, for instance where family members are still living in a property part- owned by an individual, or where a pension fund is inherited). However the sense of increased security that such ownership gives should be quantified in some way, therefore it is proposed to assess such assets at 50% of their market value, and this to be added to the inheritance in 1a.

2. Children

Principle: often the greatest financial insecurity (and need) is felt by those with children or dependents – especially by single parents. They should be supported by extra pay. There are payments only for the first two children, for environmental reasons.

Mechanism: someone with one child gets an increment of 8%, someone with 2 children gets an increment of 12% (8+4%). For single parents, these figures are doubled ie 16% and 24%

Notes: The pay should only ever be a contribution, not aim to cover the full cost of raising the children / looking after the dependents

3. Other dependents

Principle: similar stresses can be experienced by those who care for ill or ageing relatives, or other dependents. Capacity+ will increase pay for those who cover the living costs of their dependents.

Mechanism: if the dependents live with the Capacity+ worker, who provide their food and accommodation, the same mechanism applies as with children: 8% for one dependent, 12% for two, doubled if supporting them solely (without partner / sibling etc).

If a Capacity+ worker pays for care / housing etc of a relative or relatives externally (eg living in a care home, or receiving care at home), their rate will increase by 4% for every £2,500 it costs them, up to a limit of £15,000.

The dependents increment is on top of the children increment.

Unpaid work: Sole carers

If a Capacity+ worker provides unpaid care and no or minimal financial support for dependents— such as cleaning, cooking, washing etc, this takes time and resources and should be factored in.

4% for one dependent, 6% for two, doubled if supporting them solely (without partner / sibling etc).


With £20.59 per hour as a starting point.

Someone who paid £9,000 per year for a relative to be cared for would be paid £20.59 + 12% = £23.06 per hour (assuming no other increments).

Additional increments/decrements not listed above

Capacity+ acknowledges that people may be affected by factors not listed above. If there are aspects of your position which either negatively or positively affect your levels of privilege, you should factor this in to your rate by making further adjustments. The percentages you apply here are up to you- we suggest between -8% to +8% per example depending on the level of impact on you. One such example being those with disabilities who should take that aspect of their lives into account in the calculations as well.

Examples cases;

a. it is often common for non-male gendered people to receive lower pay and less opportunities. If male you may consider a decrement to your rate (suggested -3%). If non-male you may consider an increment (suggested +3%).

b. If you are part of a marginalised group where you live you likely have less opportunities and therefore you may consider an increment to your rate (suggested +3%). If you are not part of a marginalised group where you live you may consider a decrement of your rate (suggested -3%).

This recognises the dual realities of compounding privilege and compounding debt, both of which can accrue exponentially, in tight feedback loops, based on biases or levels of privilege which have impacted you across decades and through generations.

Examples based on the above

If the starting rate is set at £20.59 per hour, the minimum possible rate (for someone with >£200,000 of inherited wealth, is male and not part of a marginalised group and no +ve increments) would be £11.12. The maximum rate (for a non-male single parent who is part of a marginalised group, with 2 children, who pays >£15,000 pa for care of their ageing parents, would be £33.36 per hour.

Complicated, full eg (to show calculation):

Someone who has one child, has inherited £80,000, pays £20,000 pa to support their ageing parents:

Inheritance decrement: – 16%

Child increment: + 8%

Dependents increment: + 24%

Total increment: + 16%

£20.59 + 16% = £23.88 per hour.


Hopefully this guide has been useful to you. Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments section below.

If you are using this guide for a Capacity+ Proposal

Presenting your rate to Capacity+… If you are using this guide to calculate a fair amount to be paid for your work as part of a Capacity+ funded proposal project: Make your calculations in private, if the Capacity+ core team want to query your rate you will be offered a private chat with one of our team where you can share your calculations.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.