Artfarm becomes living wage employer

Independently owned hospitality business Artfarm has become an accredited living wage employer due to its commitment to pay all employees a rate higher than the national minimum wage (NMW).

The company, which operates sites in Scotland, Somerset and London, will now ensure that all of its 200-plus members of staff currently working at the NMW rate receive the real living wage.

This is set to rise from £9.50 to £9.90 per hour for workers across the UK and from £10.85 to £11.05 for those in London, while the NMW will increase by 6.6% from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour from 1 April 2022 for those aged 23 and over.

Jonathon Cornaby, Artfarm’s chief financial officer, explained the challenges that the business finds itself now facing in the aftermath of Brexit and the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic presents an opportunity to remodel hospitality and the way the industry treats its staff.

“We place equal value on our people and our guests; if our Artfarm team is happy, we will have happy guests. Committing to the real living wage is a positive step we are delighted to embrace,” he said.

The living wage is calculated by the Living Wage Foundation according to the cost of living in a designated area, accounting for life expenses such as travel costs, rent and food and drink. Since its introduction in 2011, the movement has delivered a pay rise to more than 260,000 employees and seen £1.5 billion extra be given to low-paid workers.

In addition, not only does this announcement come at a time where many companies are having difficulties recruiting staff due to issues surrounding Brexit and the ongoing pandemic, but it also follows  Office for National Statistics data from in April 2020, where the hospitality sector recorded the highest proportion of jobs paid below the living wage in the UK (71%).