The Living Wage Foundation has announced that there are now over 2,000 accredited Living Wage employers across the UK. This doubles the number of accredited businesses from November 2014.
Accredited Living Wage employers will pay their staff at least the new voluntary Living Wage rate of £8.25 per hour, rising from £7.85; significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.70 per hour, and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.20 per hour that will come into force across the UK in April 2016.
The announcement today will see a pay rise for approximately 68,000 staff that are employees of the accredited businesses that commit to paying all their staff, including sub-contracted teams working on their premises at least the Living Wage.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, will announce the new London Living Wage rate at 9am at a central London Oliver Bonas store. The London Living Wage rate is expected to follow a similar upward trend to the national rate, and is already set above the anticipated 2020 target for the minimum wage premium for over 25s of £9.00 per hour.
The new rate, which the Living Wage Foundation encourages responsible businesses to pay, is calculated independently and based on the cost of living.
“Today we are celebrating those 2,000 responsible businesses that are voluntarily paying the Living Wage to their staff,” said Sarah Vero, Director Living Wage Foundation. “These employers are not waiting for Government to tell them what to do; their actions are helping to end the injustice that is in-work poverty in the UK now.
The Living Wage campaign is growing at pace and today national retailer Richer Sounds, as well as consumer goods giant Unilever, have joined the Living Wage accreditation. “The Living Wage is good for people and for business,” added Vero.
“As a company committed to making sustainable living commonplace we believe it is right to raise the floor on wages," comments Tim Munden, HR Director at Unilever UK. “That is why we have been committed to paying our UK employees at least a living wage for some time. We are therefore delighted to take this next natural step in gaining accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation; it underlines our commitment to a living wage approach across our supply chain and it will ensure that hundreds more people working with us will be paid the Living Wage by the end of next year.”
The Living Wage announcement today comes in tandem with research released by KPMG, a principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation, which details the number of workers across the UK earning less than a Living Wage, as well as breaking down the areas across the country where low pay remains prevalent and highlighting the sectors paying the lowest rates of pay across the UK.