Employers challenged to pay living wage

The national living wage and the London living wage were increased on 4 November to £7.65 an hour and £8.80 an hour, respectively.

The national living wage rose by 20p from £7.45, while London saw a 25p rise from £8.55. 

The increases coincided with Living Wage Week, 4-8 November, when many employers sought to raise awareness and interest in paying the living wage.

Richard Wilcox, managing director at Unity Trust Bank, which pays the living wage, said: “It is ethically right [to pay the living wage], but it also makes sound business sense.

“Our employees are our best asset. We have a loyal and committed workforce and we want to ensure this remains so. This is one way we can contribute to ensuring a happy and positive workforce across the board.”

According to research by accountancy firm KPMG, one in five UK workers are paid less than the living wage. London mayor Boris Johnson has challenged more employers to pay the living wage.

Other research last month found that nearly 13,000 university staff are paid less than the living wage, with 57% of UK universities paying less than the minimum wage.

Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “There is still a lot of work to do, especially in retail. We are raising awareness and tend to see a big spike in interest during Living Wage Week.

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“Lots of employers hear about it, but just don’t understand. Our aim is to have the living wage mark become well recognised and develop it as a far greater incentive for organisations to choose to support and pay the living wage rather than the minimum.”

Unity Trust Bank’s Wilcox added: “We encourage other employers to show responsibility and commitment to their staff by ensuring they receive a fair wage. It’s morally and ethically right and shows employers value their staff. Employee satisfaction and loyalty is crucial in helping to build any business and this is one way to boost productivity.”