More than 250,000 workers at living wage employers are set for a pay rise after the independently-calculated figure for the real living wage was increased to £9.50 an hour and £10.85 in London.
The real living wage is not compulsory on employers, but the 2.1 per cent increase in the national rate set by the Living Wage Foundation will put pressure on government to raise the mandatory minimum pay level of £8.72 for over-25s.
More than 7,000 companies, including two-fifths of the FTSE 100 companies and household names like Aviva, Nationwide, Everton FC and BrewDog, have signed up to pay the real living wage, which is calculated to reflect what it actually costs to live in the UK.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, they have been joined by 800 more employers, including Tate and Lyle, Network Rail, the All England Lawn Tennis Club and Capital One.
Living Wage Foundation director Laura Gardiner said that more than £1.3bn in extra wages had gone to low-paid workers since 2011 because of the movement, with some £200m in additional pay since the start of lockdown in March. Some 130,000 of those benefiting are classed as key workers in the pandemic.
A full-time worker paid the new real living wage will receive over £1,500 more than someone on the current government minimum, or more than £4,000 in London.
Ms Gardiner said: “It’s an incredibly challenging time for us all, but today’s new living wage rates will give a boost to hundreds of thousands of UK workers, including thousands of key and essential workers like cleaners, care workers, and delivery drivers who have kept our economy going.
“Since the start of the pandemic employers have continued to sign up to a real living wage. During living wage week it’s right that we celebrate those employers that have done right by workers and families, providing them with much needed security and stability even when times are hard. These are the employers that will allow us to recover and rebuild from this crisis.”
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “Throughout this pandemic, we have depended on those of us who have selflessly put their work ahead of their own health and wellbeing for the continued functioning of our society.
“Over the past few months, we have recognised and applauded their fantastic work. Now, this living wage week, it is time we do the morally right thing and follow this recognition with well-deserved reward, paying them what they need to live. It is right to be paid a fair day’s wage.”
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