Employers urged to prioritize fair pay as real living wage rises

Employers have been urged to support staff with their living costs as the real living wage rose by 10.1%, the biggest annual increase in 11 years calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.

To date, the UK Living Wage – which employers voluntarily subscribe to rather than being required – for outside London has risen to £10.90 per hour, while for London the figure is £11.95 per hour. These are increments of £1 and 90p per hour respectively.

Living Wage figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, and are based on what people need to live on.

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Full-time workers on an actual living wage are expected to earn £2,730 more a year than those on the government-set national living wage (£9.50 an hour for over-23s). And thanks to this year’s pay rise, they are set to earn £1,950 more than they currently earn.

Real living wage workers in London, meanwhile, could earn £4,777.50 more a year than national living wage workers.

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said real living wages were more vital than ever as winter approached, but businesses rose to the challenge in record numbers. “Living wages are good for employers and workers alike – that’s why real living wages must continue to be at the heart of solutions to tackle the cost of living crisis,” she said.

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The increase in the cost of living, announced today, will impact nearly 400,000 workers at more than 11,000 real living wage employers. And since the start of this year, living wage workers have benefited from more than £338million in extra wages, according to research by Cardiff University Business School.

Charles Cotton, senior compensation adviser at the CIPD, said today’s increase shows the importance of fair pay and good work, but for some of the lowest paid workers it might not be enough. He also pointed out that some companies might not be able to afford the increase themselves, but that the government’s recent support package should help somewhat. “In addition to providing enough hours for staff to have a decent standard of living, organizations should review aspects of employment such as flexible working, career progression opportunities and financial wellness benefits. ; for example, occupational disease benefits or hardship loans,” he said.

However, improving productivity can also go a long way: “Employers should review the way jobs, tasks and workplaces are designed to see where improvements can be made,” Cotton added.

In addition to employers offering a living wage, there has also been an increase in employers offering working hours, which offer workers a minimum of 16 hours per week, one month’s notice for working hours and a contract. which reflects the hours worked. Currently, there are 36 such employers.

However, analysis by the Living Wage Foundation also found that there are still 4.8 million workers paid less than the actual living wage, and a study released last week found that over the past six months, more workers than ever skipped meals and consumed food. banks.

Nicola Inge, director of employment and skills at Business in the Community, said the news comes at a crucial time when many employees are struggling to make ends meet. She pointed out that while many companies have signed up, the Living Wage Foundation has given a deadline of May 14, 2023 at the latest to participate. “Paying the real living wage is an essential step in helping employees deal with the cost of living crisis, as well as marking a long-term commitment to providing good work,” she said.

Michael A. Bynum