A Preview to Living Wage Week

living-wageLiving Wage Week raises awareness of the Living Wage and celebrates employers who have been accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. This UK-wide celebration happens from 2-8 November 2014.

Expect many national and community events, including:

– New 2014-2015 Living Wage rates announced

– The Living Wage Foundation unveiling a new report on the impact of the Living Wage

– Accredited Living Wage Employers celebrating and raising awareness by sponsoring company-wide events, hosting industry-wide discussions, and offering sales promotions.

Living Wage Overview

The Living Wage rate is based on what a person needs to cover basic living costs and varies in different parts of the country. The National Minimum Wage already exists as a legal minimum pay standard, but the Living Wage is different.

The national minimum wage is set every year based on the Low Pay Commission’s report and is enforced by HM Revenue and Customs. By contrast, the Living Wage is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and is an informal benchmark of the minimum pay rate a worker needs to lead a decent life.

Employers voluntarily choose to pay the Living Wage rate, currently £8.80/hour in London and £7.65/hour for the rest of the UK. The initiative has public cross party support and is backed by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

The Living Wage is good for businesses as well as individuals. A recent independent study found that 80% of London employers who implemented a Living Wage policy believed that the quality of their staff’s work had improved. Absenteeism was reduced by 25%. Employee turnover in these organisations fell, with 66% of employers reporting a significant impact on recruitment and retention.

The Living Wage Commission was established to provide an independent inquiry into the future of the Living Wage. It is made up of representatives from the British Chambers of Commerce, the TUC, and a voluntary sector. The Commission has a recommended goal that the UK government reduce the number of low paid workers by one million by the year 2020. This can be done by making sure all government workers earn a living wage and that private companies continue to join the Living Wage Foundation.

Living Wage Week

The aim of Living Wage Week is to publicise the impact of low pay around the UK and spotlight improvements made through endorsement of the Living Wage. The focus is on employers who have received the Living Wage Foundation accreditation.

The awareness raised by Living Wage Week will educate employers and encourage them to participate in the Living Wage campaign. Currently over 700 employers have been accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, and that number continues to rise. If you own a company and would like to become a Living Wage Employer in time to join the November celebrations, the latest date you can apply is Monday 13th October.

One way the Commission plans to raise awareness during this week is though the Living Wage Champion Awards Program. Only accredited Living Wage Employers and Recognised Living Wage Service Providers can apply. There will be one award winner for each region of the UK, and winning companies will receive press attention and be featured on the Living Wage website and in promotional materials. If you are part of an accredited Living Wage company and would like to be considered for an award, the deadline to complete an application is Friday 12th September.

There are several ways for accredited companies to participate in Living Wage Week, including:

– Running a special or offering a promotion

– Hosting a staff lunch or other team celebration

– Sending press releases or creating blog posts to raise awareness

– Displaying the Living Wage employer mark on your website and company materials

– Hosting a discussion in your community or within your industry to focus on the benefits of a Living Wage.

The Living Wage Commission is willing to help with ideas and support for Living Wage Week celebrations. You can register a particular event or contact the team to discuss your plans.

If you own or work with an accredited company you should definitely reach out to them to make sure your organisation is recognised.

For more information about our ethical approach and our own commitment to the Living Wage, call Shirtworks on 0800 072 5334 or contact us online.

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