Living Wage Week 2014 is almost here, and to celebrate we’ve put together a guide to answer your most frequently asked questions about the Living Wage.
Question 1: What is the Living Wage?
The living wage is an hourly rate of pay that covers the basic cost of living the UK. It’s higher than the legal national wage, and employers choose to pay it on a voluntary basis.
Question 2: How much do Living Wage employers pay?
The National Living Wage was set at £7.85 per hour in 2013/14 – that’s 21% higher than the legal minimum wage. The rate is likely to rise in November, as the wage is calculated annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University to keep up the rising costs of food, fuel and housing.
There is a seperate Living Wage for employers in London. This is calculated by the Greater London Local Authority, and is currently set at £8.80 to cover the higher cost of living in the city.
Question 3: Why pay a Living Wage?
Paying the living wage ensures that staff can live free from poverty, and are rewarded fairly for the work they do.
It’s good for employees.
At the moment, 22% of the full time workers in the UK don’t doesn’t earn enough to cover their basic cost of living – and around 261,000 of these workers live in Wales. This has a huge impact on individuals’ health and wellbeing, and on the local economy.
Katie Palmer, Cardiff’s Sustainable Food Coordinator, advocates for the Living Wage as a tool to combat food poverty and to reduce families’ reliance on food banks. “Everyone with a job should be able to afford a healthy diet – and the living wage is a good start.”
It’s good for businesses too.
Implementing the Living Wage can be great for businesses. An independant study in London found that more than 80% of employers believed the quality of their staff’s work increasing following implementation, and abseneeism fell by approximately 25%. Retention and reruiment improved, the turn over of contractors fell from 4% to 1%, and 70% of employees fely that consumers were more aware of their organisation’s commitment to being an ethical employer. Success all round!
Question 4: Who pays the Living Wage?
Here in Cardiff we have a growing community of Accredited Living Wage employers, which includes:
- ACE: Action in Ely and Caerau
- Amber Energy
- Cardiff Community Housing Association
- Chwarae Teg
- Cynnal Cymru
- National Assembly for Wales
- Wales and West Housing
For a full list of Living Wage employers in the UK, click here.
Question 4: How can I support the Living Wage?
You don’t have to be an employer to support and celebrate the Living Wage! The Living Wage Foundation has provided the following top tips on how you can be part of the movement:
- Tweet about it! Celebrtare Living Wage Week by sharing messages on facebook and twitter.
- Spread the word: Got a friend with a small busines? Or a favourite coffee shop? Do you volunteer at the weekends?Tell any organisations that you work with about the Living Wage Foundation. If you’d like any materials to do this just let us know
- Celebrate Living Wage Week: Plan an event for Living Wage Week, a national celebration of the Living Wage, which takes place each year during the first week of November
- Donate or fundraise: You can support the work of the Living Wage campaign by fundraising for us or making a donation. Our JustGiving page can be found here.
- Know your area: Write to your local paper to tell them about the Living Wage locally. You can find out how many accredited organisations there are in your region here and statistics about low pay in your area here.
- Learn about Community Organising, the roots of the Living Wage: you might like to read about Citizens UK, the organisation that the Living Wage Foundation grew from. Citizens UK brings together community groups to work together locally on a range of issues including the Living Wage – they also run training courses. If you’d be interested to get involved please contact Citizens UK.