As Living Wage Week (14 to 20 November 2022) kicks off today, Gareth Cowmeadow, Key Account Director at Kingdom Cleaning, explains why the movement has never been more important.
It’s Living Wage Week, which celebrates the movement that has given hundreds of thousands of workers a pay rise with a real Living Wage.
From years of campaigning and signing up the first Living Wage supporter in 2004, to now having over 8,000 UK businesses accredited, over £1.5 billion has gone back into the pockets of low paid workers over the past 20 years.
But as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, and families across the country face energy and food price hikes this winter, it has never been more important to ensure workers are being compensated fairly for their hard work and dedication.
With 78 per cent of low-paid workers struggling to make ends meet, spreading the message of the Living Wage movement is particularly important right now.
What is the Living Wage?
The real living wage is an amount voluntarily paid by accredited UK businesses who recognise that their staff deserve a rate of pay that meets their daily needs.
In the UK, the National Minimum Wage ranges from between £4.81 and £9.50 per hour depending on age.
Independently calculated, the Living Wage is currently £11.95 for those living in London, and £10.90 for the rest of the country. This rate ensures that those working in vital services, like cleaning, care, or security, are paid a fair wage for their commitment and dedication.
Why pay the Living Wage?
Business who sign up to the Living Wage movement notice a raft of associated benefits above and beyond the satisfaction they get from doing the right thing by their staff.
From improved retention rates and employee relations to a boost in reputation, businesses have found that being accredited helps mark them out from their competitors.
As Sebastian Bachelier, Programme Manager at the Living Wage Foundation, puts it: “With the cost of living crisis ongoing and potentially set to worsen, paying your employees the real Living Wage has never been more important. For sectors such as cleaning, catering and security, it’s crucial to work with clients to showcase the benefits of paying the real Living Wage, not only for frontline workers, but for businesses as well.”
How do I get involved?
There are two ways businesses can get involved in the Living Wage movement:
- Sign up to become a Living Wage Employer, meaning you commit to paying all your employees at least the real Living Wage.
- Alternatively, you can become a Recognised Service Provider. This means you’ll pay all your directly employed staff the real Living Wage. But you’ll also offer a Living Wage bid with every market rate you submit to prospective and current clients. This means your client always has the choice to implement the real Living Wage at the point of tender.
Our commitment to the Living Wage
Here at Kingdom, not only have we been enthusiastic supporters of the Living Wage movement for many years, but we were a founding member of its Recognised Service Provider Scheme. And we were one of the first national contract cleaning companies to sign up.
We wanted to lead the industry in combatting in-work poverty and improve the wellbeing of our lower paid staff.
And why do we do this? Because we believe work should pay and that employees should feel appreciated at all times. Without our frontline staff, we don’t have a business. These people should be rewarded sufficiently for their hard work.
Becoming involved with the Living Wage movement has been one of the most positive and rewarding initiatives we’ve ever implemented. We hope, that by doing our bit to raise awareness, other businesses will continue to follow on the path to making the world a much fairer place.