University of South Wales gains living wage accreditation

university of south wales
Image credit: USW

The University of South Wales (USW) has been accredited as a living wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation, becoming the 200th organisation to pay the voluntary living wage in Wales.

USW has committed to paying its permanent employees, as well as any third-party contractors, at least the voluntary living wage rate of £9.00 an hour. This amounts to 2,500 individuals in total.

Staff directly employed by the University have enjoyed this rate of pay for the past four years, but the accreditation ensures that contractors also receive this amount.

Dr Ben Calvert, deputy vice-chancellor at USW, said: “The University is delighted to formally receive accreditation as a living wage employer. Our directly employed staff have enjoyed the living wage rate of pay for several years, but this now extends our commitment to all those working at the University. USW is hugely committed to an agenda of inclusion, and this accreditation is further testament to that aim.”

The living wage is an independently set hourly rate of pay that is calculated according to the basic costs of living. Employers pay the living wage rate, which is updated annually, on a voluntary basis. The higher London living wage, which is currently set at £10.55 an hour, 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 £8.21 an hour.

Currently, 33 universities across the UK are accredited living wage employers; in Wales, this includes Cardiff University, Aberystwyth University and The Open University.

Dan Beard, USW branch secretary at Unison, added: “This is good news for all support staff at the University and we thank the University for working with us on this. We are also appreciative of the leadership shown by the Welsh government on this, and note Kirsty Williams’ call last year for universities to establish a living wage sector rapidly.

“This is a clear sign of how the proposed Social Partnerships Act could function, with trade unions, employers and government working together.”