Real Living Wage Leeds 2022: what is it and how much does it cost?

As the UK’s cost of living crisis rages on, increasing numbers of people across the country are struggling to make ends meet.

It reached a point where many on minimum wage can no longer lead a quality life – leading experts to devise an alternative.

That may seem like a lot, but it’s dwarfed by the percentage increase in inflation of -10.1%. It is expected to reach 11% by the end of 2022, widening the gap even further.

Therefore, to help those in need, several employers have joined the Real Living Wage program. But what is the real living wage scheme, exactly?

What is the Real Living Wage Scheme?

The Real Living Wage program was set up by the Living Wage Foundation, with the goal of helping people in lower wage brackets receive fairer pay.

It is entirely voluntary – all employers participating in this program have decided to enroll themselves. The Living Wage Foundation has no affiliation with the UK government and is an independent movement.

The scheme is an effort to help close the gap between the minimum wage in the UK and the actual cost of living in the country.

The Living Wage Foundation says that joining the program not only boosts worker morale (thereby creating a more efficient and motivated workforce), but also helps strengthen employer-employee relationships.

The Living Wage Foundation website states: “The Real Living Wage is the only wage rate in the UK paid voluntarily by over 10,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage that meets day-to-day needs – such as the weekly store or a surprise trip to the dentist.”

More than 300,000 employees across the country have received a pay raise as a result of the Living Wage campaign.

What is the current minimum wage in the UK?

From April 2022 the National Living Wage in the UK is £9.50/hr. However, this can vary greatly depending on your age.

For example, for people aged 21-22, the minimum wage is just £9.18/hr. For 18-20 year olds it’s just £6.83/hr.

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said committing to paying your employees a wage that matches the cost of living in the UK is “the right thing to do for struggling workers and families, but it’s also good for business, with employers benefiting from improved staff morale and productivity, and reduced absenteeism and turnover.”

Which employers have joined the scheme?

Several employers and companies, many of which have bases in Leeds, have pledged to pay their employees a wage commensurate with the current cost of living in the UK.

Santander is one of them, as are Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Oxfam, Connect Housing and Northern Monk Brewing.

We’ve only scratched the surface – according to the Living Wage Foundation, by May 2022 over 10,000 UK employers had signed the pledge.

In Leeds, there are currently 126 employers who have signed up for the Real Living Wage pledge, including Path Yorkshire, First Response Group and Zest.

If you want to take a look for yourself at all the employers in Leeds who have signed the pledge, you can use the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage Map.

Michael A. Bynum