As a Living Wage employer we are proud to be playing our part in marking Living Wage Week, which will be marked by events taking place up and down the country.
The real Living Wage is an hourly rate independently calculated each year by the Resolution Foundation and published by the Living Wage Foundation. The rate is based on what it is assessed is needed to cover the basic cost of living in the UK, based on the cost of a basket of goods which ordinary people think are essential for a healthy, normal family lif
The voluntary rate has just been announced as part of Living Wage Week as £9 an hour outside London and £10.55 an hour in London for those aged 18 and over. It is currently paid by over 1,280 businesses in Scotland, including ourselves.
The campaign for a Living Wage began in 2001 when a coalition of faith organisations, schools, trade union branches and students’ unions known as The East London Communities Organisation decided a Living Wage was the answer to many of the social problems facing their community. This was the start of the Living Wage Foundation.
By paying the real Living Wage we as a national water retailer are voluntarily taking a stand to ensure that our employees can earn a wage which is enough to live on, benefiting themselves and their families. That basic fairness is at the heart of what the Living Wage campaign is trying to achieve. As well as it being the right thing to do, there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the business benefits of becoming a Living Wage employer. It is not just morally right, but it makes absolute business sense and is good for the employee, the economy and society as a whole.
By paying the Living Wage we, for example, attract and retain the best and most motivated people, whether directly employed by us or by others. We want good people and the Living Wage is an excellent way of getting and retaining them, boosting productivity and competitiveness through having a committed workforce.
This is borne out by research conducted on accredited Living Wage employers, which showed a 25 per cent fall in absenteeism, with 80 per cent of employers believing the Living Wage has enhanced the quality of the work of the of their staff. In addition 66 per cent of employers reported a significant impact on recruitment and retention within their organisation, with 70 per cent of employers feeling that the Living Wage has increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.
Despite these well-recognised benefits however the number of jobs failing to pay workers the real Living Wage has increased by 300,000 to more than 6 million, according to latest analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Just over one in five employees in the UK are now paid less than the voluntary sums of £10.20 an hour in London and £8.75 outside the capital. And just under 3 million full-time and 3.3 million part-time jobs are paying less than people need to meet their living costs. The figures show women are particularly badly affected by low pay: 28 per cent of all female employees are paid below the real living wage.
The Living Wage affords people the opportunity to provide for employees and their families, with low pay one of the main drivers of in-work poverty, and research has also found that the work quality of employees has increased as well as making them more willing to implement changes in working practices, adopting changes more quickly.
The Scottish Government has also expressed its encouragement for payment of the real Living Wage to be noted as part of the procurement process for those tendering for public sector work, noting this as being significant way a supplier can demonstrate a commitment to fair work practices.
The Living Wage is a long-term investment in our people based on our values and our belief that a team with good compensation and working conditions is in a position to provide a great experience to our customers
Our success as a national water retailer, which undertakes the Scottish Government contract to provide water billing and efficiency services to the majority of the public sector, depends on the skills, enthusiasm, ambition and dedication of our employees.
We would urge other companies and organisations take the plunge and sign up to the Living Wage, taking advantage of the tremendous benefits this brings.