“GOVERNMENT NEED TO REDUCE UNINTENDED LIVING WAGE BARRIERS”
The benefits of a real living wage are understood by businesses and employees, but wider implementation requires a genuine dialogue between policymakers and business, a new report has found.
The report from Southwark council, which summarises the findings from a Living Wage Symposium held in the House of Commons in March, considers the advantages of a real living wage for employers and employees, and some of the barriers to introducing it.
A panel of experts including Jessica Studdert of the New Local Government Network, Sarah Vero from the Living Wage Foundation, and Anne Golden from Morgan’s Hotel Group, discussed the relationship between a real living wage, the benefits system and housing, and the challenges for businesses in paying a living wage. The discussion was chaired by Professor Peter Fleming, Professor of Business and Society at City University. The key findings were:
There are genuine benefits for employers who pay a real living wage, including improved quality of work from employees, positive customer perceptions, lower absenteeism and a better quality of candidates for jobs
Because of the perceived benefits, businesses have moved on from simply seeing cost as a barrier, and are now actively looking for ways to pay a living wage
In London, businesses recognise that if they don’t pay a living wage, there will be a dwindling pool of employees who can afford to live in the capital
But a living wage may not improve lives on its own – changes to housing and benefits policy need to go hand in hand with a fair wage if lives are to improve;
Councils can encourage businesses by celebrating good practice, and promoting the benefits of a real living wage
The report also contains recommendations for central government, councils, businesses, and employees to help bring the benefits of a real living wage to more people.
Southwark’s cabinet Member for business, employment and culture Cllr Johnson Situ said: “Southwark is a trailblazer when it comes to the living wage, having paid all our employees, including contractors, the London Living Wage since 2012.
“But working with local businesses, we have seen what a challenge it can be for others to follow suit.
“We brought academics, businesses and experts together to discuss some of these barriers, and found that businesses now recognise the benefits a real living wage can bring, to them as well as their employees.
“We now call on government to help reduce these barriers, addressing some of the unintended consequences of competing policies which can prevent our residents benefitting from a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
To ownload the report please go to Southwark.gov press releases. Then go to ‘News’ at the top Thursday, 28 July 2016 Businesses recognise the advantages of paying a living wage, report finds
GOLDSMITHS BECOME LATEST LIVING WAGE EMPLOYER
A commitment to giving staff fair pay has seen Goldsmiths, University of London awarded official accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation (LWF).
The university has paid its staff the London Living Wage (LLW), which currently stands at £9.40 an hour, since 2011.
Goldsmiths’ efforts have now been officially recognised by the LWF with the signing of a licence to support the continued commitment to the initiative.
The move means that Goldsmiths will continue to pay its employees the LLW and sees Goldsmiths recognised as a LWF employer.
It also means that the university joins other employers in the borough of Lewisham to be officially recognised in paying the wage. Other such employers and organisations in the borough include Lewisham Council, The New Cross Gate Trust and Rushey Green Time Bank.
The move additionally allows Goldsmiths to apply to Lewisham Council for one year of discounted business rates.
The LLW is an hourly rate that is independently set by the Greater London Authority. The rate is updated annually and calculated according to the basic cost of living in London.
Goldsmiths’ staff and contractors receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.40, which is more than 20% higher than the National Minimum Wage of £6.70.
Employers across the country are only required by law to pay the National Minimum Wage. (Source: Southwark council press release)