Today is the start of Living Wage Week: a week of events to celebrate the 4,700 UK businesses and social enterprises who believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.
The real Living Wage is based on the cost of living and is voluntarily paid by thousands of start-ups, small to medium businesses, right up to global brands such as IKEA and Unilever.
The Living Wage is reviewed annually, and as the cost of living rises, so does the Living Wage. Each year, the Mayor of London announces the new Living Wage rate for London, as set by The Living Wage Foundation. This morning Sadiq Khan announced that the rate was rising from £10.20 to £10.55 to cover the cost of living.
Paying the Living Wage is good news for society as it enables workers to do more than simply exist on minimum wage or zero hours contracts, it creates opportunity to start saving and building a future for themselves and their families.
Wandsworth Labour’s policy is to pay every council worker – whether on staff or on a contract – at least the London Living Wage.
There are so many families struggling in Wandsworth and the use of food banks is growing daily for people who are working. We believe that one measure to lift people out of poverty is to be paid a Living Wage, and that includes workers under 25, who face the same challenges as workers over 25 in making ends meet.
The National Living Wage, set by the government, is based on a target to meet 60% of median wages by 2020. By 2020 this will be less than £9 per hour, which will keep people on or below the breadline.
The Living Wage brings real benefits to employers, 93% agree that their business has benefited since becoming accredited. One of the key benefits is that it drives down recruitment costs as employees feel more valued, 75% say that it has increased motivation and retention rates for employees.
Becoming Living Wage accredited means that you can use the Living Wage logo as you market your brand. Research shows that consumers feel better about buying products and services from brands that set out to do good in society.
Becoming accredited is a journey, with the first step being to assess any potential cost and savings for your business. It makes good business sense to know if your competitors are Living Wage accredited, it may be possible to take first mover advantage. The Living Wage Foundation is clear that this isn’t something that every business can do immediately. What we are asking for this week, is for employers to build their knowledge about Living Wage and consider the benefits that come with being accredited.
We encourage all businesses to visit https://www.livingwage.org.uk to get to know the facts and read the case studies about accredited businesses. And we encourage people to visit https://www.livingwage.org.uk/accredited-living-wage-employers to check out who pays it so that you can consider supporting their business.
This week, Wandsworth Labour councillors will be celebrating the great local businesses that are already paying the Living Wage to their staff.
We want to thank every single one of the 4,700 employers around the country who have become accredited Living Wage employers. Every one of you has made a positive contribution to the lives of millions of workers and their families.