As seasonal spending increases, thousands of people are set to enjoy a timely pay rise — provided they work for one of the almost 6000 real Living Wage employers across the country.

Not to be confused with the statutory National Living Wage (NLW), the rates set by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF) are voluntary and only apply once an employer has decided to join the scheme.

According to the LWF, Living Wage rates are the only ones which are independently calculated based on what people need to live on.

It has just announced that 210,000 people working for firms who have signed up to the scheme will benefit from an increase to £9.30 across the UK (up by 30p or 3.3%) and £10.75 (up by 20p, 1.9%) in London.

The single biggest factor explaining why the UK-wide rate has risen more quickly than that in London is private rental costs (which rose faster outside the capital). Childcare costs also rose at a faster rate outside of London.

Living Wage Foundation Director, Katherine Chapman, said:  “Good businesses know that the real Living Wage means happier, healthier and more motivated workers, and that providing workers with financial security is not only the right thing to do, but has real business benefits”.

She pointed out that a record 1500 more employers have accredited with the LWF this year, including FTSE 100 company Hiscox, Crystal Palace Football Club, Welsh Water, Leeds Building Society, London City Airport and Newcastle University.

In addition, businesses and civic leaders in Salford and Cardiff have announced ambitious plans to become the first Living Wage cities in England and Wales, committing to more than double the number of local workers getting the rate.

The Living Wage Foundation is calling on all major employers to step up and tackle the rising problem of low pay by committing to go beyond the Government minimum and “to pay a wage in line with the real cost of living”.

It points out that a full-time worker paid the £9.30 real Living Wage will receive more than £2000 in additional wages compared to the current official minimum wage (£5000 more in London).

Comment from Peninsula Employment Law Director Alan Price

Being recognised as a real Living Wage employer can be a significant boost to an organisation’s reputation, suggesting to potential applicants, and the wider public, that the business is willing to go above and beyond in order to compensate their employees’ hard work.

Although some smaller employers may baulk at the notion of paying higher than legally necessary for roles that would typically warrant minimum wage, business owners should ask themselves whether they can really afford not to.

After all, opting to pay the real Living Wage could help employers retain an advantage over competing businesses, thereby encouraging staff retention rates to remain high.

Last reviewed 14 November 2019