University of Bath to pay voluntary living wage

University of Bath

The University of Bath is to pay its employees, more than 300 of whom are members of the trade union Unison, the voluntary living wage rate of £8.75 an hour from 1 May 2018.

The university, which is currently in the process of applying for a formal living wage employer accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation, has committed to paying permanent employees, as well as third-party contractors, at least the voluntary living wage rate of £8.75 an hour for staff working in the UK.

In addition, the University of Bath is planning to offer employees who earn a weekend working supplement the opportunity to move on to a different, similar pay structure. The university will release more information on this voluntary change in terms and conditions in the next two to three weeks.

The living wage is an independently set hourly rate of pay, calculated according to the basic costs of living. Employers pay the living wage rate, which is updated annually, on a voluntary basis. The living wage is currently set at £8.75 an hour for employees across the UK, and £10.20 an hour for staff based in London. The higher London living wage reflects the increased living costs associated with residing in the capital.

The voluntary living wage is distinct from the statutory national living wage, which is paid to employees aged 25 and over. The national living wage rate is currently set at £7.83 an hour.

Richard Brooks, director of HR at the University of Bath, said: “We are applying for formal accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation to reinforce our commitment to ensure salaries keep pace with the cost of living. The Living Wage Foundation announces their living wage rates in the first week of November each year and once accredited, the university will be committed to implementing that rate in common with other voluntary living wage employers.

“All our staff, across faculty and professional services, are essential for the success of our university and the experience of our students. A number of our stakeholder groups have made representations on this issue, and we have listened carefully and responded to those views.

“The move to pay at least the voluntary living wage of £8.75 an hour to all staff will positively affect more than 300 employees. I believe this will benefit not only our lowest paid staff but also our community as a whole.”

Donna Rowe-Merriman, head of higher education at Unison, added: “The scandal of low pay in the sector is something that vice chancellors across the UK can rectify by becoming living wage accredited employers. That alone will provide a pay rise for more than 10,000 people employed at UK universities.”