Living Wage Series - Sri Lanka - December 2018 - In Sri Lanka Rupee, per Month

The Living Wage is based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to cover the necessary living costs of a family. WageIndicator uses prices from the Cost of Living Survey to calculate Living Wage in more than 60 countries. The Living Wage is an approximate income needed to meet a family’s basic needs including food, housing, transport, health, education, tax deductions and other necessities.

The following table summarises the varying expenditure and income needs for the three commonly occurring family household compositions.

Expenditure and Living Wage calculation (monthly rates in Sri Lanka Rupee)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 22400-30200 21900-29500 5470-7380
Housing 20000-30000 20000-30000 8060-17800
Transport 990-1600 990-1600 495-800
Health 3000-5000 3000-5000 750-1250
Education 5000-5000 5000-5000 0
Other costs 2570-3590 2550-3560 740-1360
Total Expenditure 53960-75390 53440-74660 15515-28590
Net Living Wage 33725-47119 29689-41478 15515-28590
Gross Living Wage 37400-52300 33000-46000 17200-31700

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Sri Lanka Rupee)

There is not a single answer to what is the adequate cost of living. The result is complex, as the cost of living varies by household composition, location, and employment pattern. The following table presents the Living Wage estimates for a set of most common family household compositions and under different assumptions about working hours.

Typical family (two parents + 2.1 children, 1.6 working) 37400-52300
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 33000-46000
Two parents and two children, 2 working 29700-41400
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 39600-55300
Two parents and two children, 1 working 59300-82900
Two parents and three children, 1.6 working 41000-57200
Two parents and four children, 1.6 working 45000-62600
Single-adult without children, 1 working 17200-31700

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Sri Lanka Rupee)

The Minimum Wage is a national legally binding obligation on employers which often make no reference to a living standard. Living Wage describes the adequate living standard. The common goal of the many living wage campaigns currently taking place all over the world is to lift Minimum Wages levels to those of the Living Wages. WageIndicator presents Living Wages jointly with Minimum Wages, aiming to raise awareness concerning the remaining differences in levels. Living Wages are presented in context with other wage indicators including prevailing wages of workers over recent years.

  2015 2016 2017 2018
Minimum wage 6500 6500 6500 6500
Living Wage - Single Adult - - - 17200-31700
Living Wage - Typical Family - - - 37400-52300
Real wage of low-skilled worker 16400-24000 17200-23500 17600-25200 18100-24400
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 21500-32000 23800-33100 24300-35300 26700-36900
Real wage of high-skilled worker 32700-52500 36200-54600 37400-58900 40700-61000

Note: Table shows the lowest monthly Minimum Wage in a country, when available. Reported monthly earnings of workers in low-, medium-, and high-skilled occupations are obtained from the voluntary WageIndicator web survey on work and wages. Results in the table are rounded.

Sri Lanka Graph

Food basket and food prices in Sri Lanka Rupee

The food expenditure is the main component of Living Wage and it is determined by the price of food basket. The food prices are taken from WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey which collects the actual prices of all items necessary to calculate the Living Wage. The composition of the food basket is taken from the national food balance sheets published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The food basket is scaled to 2,100 calories per person per day that is the nutritional requirement for good health proposed by World Bank (Handbook on poverty and inequality, 2009).

Food item Grams per day Energy (kcal) Price per kilo
Wheat, barley and cereals products 87 223 120-180
Rice 254 899 80-90
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 17 21 500-700
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 7 64 250-280
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 131 246 100-110
Maize and products 12 38 300-300
Milk - Excluding Butter 81 53 115-185
Vegetables, Other 68 18 150-200
Potatoes and products 19 19 100-140
Butter, Ghee 0 2 400-800
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 169 256 300-400
Pulses, Other and products 16 55 200-600
Cassava and products 23 35 80-100
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 11 15 137-150
Sunflowerseed Oil 0 1 350-400
Fish products 60 49 400-560
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 14 7 400-606
Sweeteners, Other 1 3 110-120
Beans 2 8 180-200
Sweet potatoes 4 5 150-200
Soyabeans 0 0 200-300
Apples and products 2 1 300-350
Tomatoes and products 9 2 100-140
Onions 30 18 100-130
Oranges, Mandarines 3 1 250-300
Plantains 60 46 90-110
Peas 3 11 140-200
Roots, Other 0 0 90-100
Seeds and kernels 1 4 200-560
Wine (bottle) 0 0 1200-2000
Pineapples and products 4 1 -
Cream 0 0 400-800
Olives (including preserved) 0 0 1400-1500
Honey 0 0 650-1000
Lemons, Limes and products 1 0 100-150
Tea (including mate) 3 1 500-700
Grapefruit and products 0 0 100-150
Coffee and products 1 0 300-600


WageIndicator Living Wage background:

The WageIndicator Living Wage is set to provide acceptable living standard to a family of a particular size. WageIndicator presents Living Wages for several household types and working hours which reflect the most frequently found real situations in which people have to make a living: 1. Typical family Living Wage is a baseline estimate that respects the country specific conditions. Typical family is comprised of two adults and the number of children is given by country specific fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifespan). One adult is working full-time and the working hours of second adult are approximated by national employment rate. The total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 2. Standard family Living Wage is estimated for a family composed of two adults and two children (referred to as family 2+2). Living wage is calculated under different assumptions about working hours. These include that both adults work full-time (family employment rate is 2), or at least one adult works part-time or half-time (family employment rate is 1.8 and 1.5), or one adult does not work at all (i.e. patriarchal model with family employment 1). Alternatives refer to trade-offs between leisure and work and define what living wage represents. In every case the total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 3. Extended family Living Wage includes family with three or four children. One adult works full-time and the work intensity of second parent is approximated by national employment rate. 4. Individual Living Wage represents an acceptable standard of living for a single individual working full-time.

Data sources: WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey, World Bank Databank Fertility rate 2010-2014, ILO Estimated participation rate in 2017, FAO Food balance sheet in 2013.

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