The past year has been an unusual year for thinking about the wage floor. High unemployment has now characterised most of the calendar year, bringing to question the balance between increasing the national minimum wage versus increasing employment levels. Efforts to increase the wage floor have been consistent, especially now that data shows that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts low-earners.
Today, the Living Wage Foundation checks in with updates to the Real Living Wage, a regional calculation that distinguishes between London and the rest of the UK. The new Living Wage rates rise to £9.50 across the UK (20p increase), and £10.85 in London (10p increase). The Living Wage rates are the only rates independently calculated based on what people need to live on, 78p per hour more than the government minimum wage (for over 25s) and the London Living Wage is £2.13 per hour higher. A full-time worker paid the new £9.50 real Living Wage will receive over £1,500 in additional wages annually compared to the current Government minimum. For a full-time worker in London, this figure rises to over £4,000.
As for scale, over 250,000 employees from nearly 7,000 Living Wage Employers can expect an increase in their pay. Since 2011, over £1.3 billion in extra wages has gone to low-paid workers thanks to the Living Wage movement.
The pandemic hasn’t slowed the growth of the Living Wage Employer membership - over 800 have become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation since March when the pandemic hit the UK. New members include Tate & Lyle, Network Rail and Capital One. As for listed companies, two-fifths of FTSE 100 companies are now members - Aviva, Nationwide the illustrious BrewDog.
The announcement comes as new research by the Living Wage Foundation has demonstrated the scale of low pay during the pandemic, with 5.5 million jobs (20.3% of employee jobs) still paying less than the real Living Wage. Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of jobs paying below the Living Wage (25.3%) and Scotland the lowest (15.2%).
Regional events taking place throughout #LivingWageWeek - see you in the Chat!