Michael Hanley: Being a living wage employer reaps business benefits


The gap between the rich and poor is a national disgrace. Poverty wages and zero hours contracts inflict untold hardship on millions of people, when they need help and support. At Wilson Solicitors, we are concerned by the economic injustice that pervades our society. This is why we threw our weight behind the Living Wage Foundation, and any employer who shares our sense of outrage should consider doing it too. 

Our decision to become an accredited living wage employer came about in early 2014, when looking at the contract we had with our cleaning organisation. We decided to increase the cleaning staff’s minimum wage of £6.31 an hour to the national London living wage, which was £8.80 an hour at that time. Some of our junior administrative staff, who were being paid less than the London living wage, also benefited.

The accreditation process for becoming a living wage employer was straightforward; we started the process at the beginning of 2014, and by November we had all our staff, including cleaners, on the London living wage. 

There has been an overwhelming appreciation, especially amongst our cleaning staff, who remain loyal, diligent and reliable, in response to us becoming a living wage employer. While not our reason for doing it, it has been an added bonus for us, for simply doing the right thing.

The general goodwill that the organisation attracts as a result of being a living wage employer is significant. One of the areas we specialise in is family law, and a key component of building strong relationships with those clients is trust. This comes much more easily when you are seen to treat your staff fairly.

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We became a living wage employer because we believe it is the right thing to do. As a law firm based in Tottenham, we seek to be part of the enormous amount of good in the area, and we are proud to pay our staff a decent living wage. The London living wage has now risen to £10.20 an hour, which reflects the acute difficulties of low pay in the capital.

Michael Hanley is senior partner at Wilson Solicitors