Neil Jameson, Executive Director of Citizens UK, said:
“We are not asking anyone to do anything that they can’t afford. We ask that employers who can afford to pay the Living Wage do so. It makes absolute sense for employers that are profitable or funded by tax payers to make sure that their staff – direct and contracted – can have a decent standard of living. The business case is almost as strong as the moral case.”
In 2001 the charity London Citizens brought parents together to share stories on the pressures on family life. It emerged that too many parents were working two jobs just to make ends meet and so had no time to spend with their children. They worked hard but couldn’t earn enough to afford a decent standard of living. From these discussions the Living Wage campaign was born. There are now over 400 accredited Living Wage Employers across the UK. We have seen the first ever Living Wage Olympics and the campaign has put £200 million into the pockets of 45,000 low paid workers. After twelve years of campaigning on the Living Wage we would now like to share some proposals for Government. These proposals are the result of extensive consultation with our Principal Partners, with employers, and with the member communities of Citizens UK. This is a call on Government to show leadership on the Living Wage.
Approximately one in five workers in the UK earns less than the Living Wage. This is the second highest rate of low pay in the OECD. Those receiving the Living Wage can afford a decent quality of life. For some this means working fewer hours and having time to see their families, time to volunteer in their communities, or time to look after their health. Research has found that those working in Living Wage workplaces have better psychological wellbeing than those in non-living wage workplaces. The same research found that two-thirds of the workers interviewed in Living Wage workplaces reported improvements in either their work, family life or finances.
In 2011 Citizens UK launched the Living Wage Foundation. The Living Wage Foundation supports, recognises and celebrates the leadership shown by Living Wage Employers. We offer accreditation to employers that pay the Living Wage by awarding the Living Wage Employer Mark. There are over 400 accredited Living Wage Employers: colleges and universities; banks and theatres; FTSE 100 companies; councils, shops and pubs. What is the Living Wage? The Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay. It is set independently and uprated annually. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis, setting themselves apart as businesses with a commitment to their people. The rate is calculated to provide a basic but acceptable standard of living. We’re not talking about luxuries, but acceptable standards; a warm home, a healthy diet and time to see your family.
There is growing evidence that businesses benefit from implementing the Living Wage. 75% of employees reported an increase in the quality of their work after receiving the Living Wage, with 80% of employers noticing an increase in productivity. Employers also report positive effects on recruitment and retention, on staff wellbeing, and on consumer awareness of the CSR commitments of their business. Companies paying the Living Wage have also identified improvements in the stability, attitudes and characteristics of workers. In addition, research has found that the wage cost increases associated with the Living Wage can be mitigated by changes in workplace organisation and practice, service specification and reductions in overheads.
Some of the 3800 employers paying the living wage
We have lifted the wages of tens of thousands of people but there is still a long way to go. Over 5 million workers earn less than the Living Wage. It’s time that Government plays a strong role in supporting this growing movement. Following extensive consultation with our member communities and partner organisations we have the following recommendations for Government: Leadership We recommend Government implement the Living Wage in the civil service and across departmental buildings including in service contracts. We recommend that Government encourage and enable implementation of the Living Wage across the rest of the public sector. Voluntarism We support a strong National Minimum Wage which provides a simple, well enforced statutory floor. Alongside the National Minimum Wage, the Living Wage provides a more ambitious standard for employers who can and want to do better than the legal minimum. As such the Living Wage should remain a voluntary and non-statutory standard
The Living Wage supports families and also saves the tax-payer money. As each employee is moved up to a Living Wage, the Treasury will on average save £1000 from reduced tax credit spend and increased National Insurance. As employers choose to adopt the Living Wage there are up to £3.6bn savings to be made for the tax-payer.
There are now over 400 accredited employers (3800 by 2017), spanning the UK and representing a host of different industries. We are proud of each and every Living Wage Employer, from local colleges and shops through to KPMG, The National Portrait Gallery and Great Ormond Street Hospital. A full list is available at http://www.livingwage.org.uk/employers. Who is affected by low pay? Women, migrants, part-time workers and young people are all disproportionately represented in the group of employees earning less than the Living Wage10. Nearly half of all low paid workers are employed in just two sectors: Wholesale and Retail, and Hotels and Restaurants11. How is the rate calculated? The UK Living Wage rate is set by the Centre for Social Policy at Loughborough University. The London Living Wage is set by the Greater London Authority. The calculation is based on a basket of goods and services which are essential to achieving a basic but acceptable standard of living.
Read the full text here.
The Living Wage Foundation Citizens UK Head Office 112 Cavell Street, London, E1 2JA 020 7043 9882