Tuesday 1 November 2016

Hourly living wage rate rises by up to 4%

living wages

Curzon Cinemas, the British Library and RSA Insurance have all signed up as living wage employers as the independently verified pay rate rises more than 4% in London.

The voluntary benchmark pay rate for Londoners rises 35p an hour to £9.75 while the rate for the rest of the UK increases 2.4% to £8.45 an hour, from £8.25. Both rates are well ahead of the “national living wage” of £7.20 an hour – the new legal minimum wage for over 25s introduced by the government in April this year.

The Living Wage Foundation, an independent body, sets the living wage based on research by the Resolution Foundation and the Living Wage Commission, which brings together employers, NGOs and unions, using evidence about what people need to meet their everyday basic costs. There are now about 3,000 employers signed up to the voluntary scheme, including Everton Football Club, which signed up this week, Ikea and Lloyds Banking Group.

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “Today’s new living wage rates bring a welcome pay rise to thousands of workers across the UK. One in five people earn less than the wage they need to get by. That’s why it’s more important than ever for leading employers to join the growing movement of businesses and organisations that are going further than the government minimum and making sure their employees earn enough to cover the cost of living.”

She said that at least 120,000 workers had benefited since the campaign for a real living wage kicked off 15 years ago and the movement had helped prompt the government to introduce the “national living wage” this year, bringing the biggest lift in the minimum legal rate since the minimum wage was introduced in 1999.

Announcing the new London rate at the British Library on Monday, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said more than 1,000 businesses are now accredited living wage employers, a third of all the businesses signed up in the UK. The mayor said he intended to promote the rate as a way to help the capital become “a fairer and more equal city”.

“I’m glad to say we’re well on track to see it rise to over £10 an hour during my mayoralty, but we need to go further and for many more businesses and organisations to sign up,” he said.

Khan said he was auditing workers linked to City Hall to ensure everyone was paid the London living wage, after discovering that some subcontractors were being paid less.

“Paying the London living wage is not just the right and moral thing to do, it makes good business sense too. As many employers already accredited know, the benefits are clear – including increased productivity and reduced staff turnover,” he said.

The Curzon cinema chain becomes a fully accredited living wage employer after agreeing to pay London front of house staff the living wage two years ago. Fully accredited employers must ensure all staff they use, including subcontractors and agency workers, receive the living wage rate.

*** Guardian



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