Your view: low pay in the charity sector

11 January 2018

In 2008, the World Health Organisation produced its report ‘Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health.’

In it, they talked about how “social injustice was killing people on a grand scale”. For years we had all heard about how the causes of early death and additional disability were the ‘big killers’ - the diseases and conditions which we have all become only too familiar. To have a report say that it was the socio-economic conditions in which people lived which was causing early deaths and disease, confirmed what many people knew already – where you are born, grow up, work and age and the conditions in which you live have a profound effect on your health.

One of the key indicators of health is work – being in work and having a job which is meaningful and pays you well enough to support yourself and your family. In 2012, People’s Health Trust became interested in supporting the real Living Wage campaign. A campaign which is part of a systematic way to eradicate low pay.

Since 2012, we have worked extensively with the Living Wage Foundation. You may have read that in November last year, we worked with the Living Wage Foundation, NCVO and Cardiff Business School to launch the Low Pay in the Charity Sector report.

The results in the report are a shocking indictment of the state of the charity sector:

  • 26% of charity workers earn less than the real Living Wage, compared to 21% of the overall workforce;
  • Nearly a third of women (30.4%) in the charity sector earn less than the real Living Wage compared to just a fifth (21%) of men;
  • People from BAMER backgrounds are particularly affected by low pay, with very high numbers of ‘Other Asian Background’ (62%) and Black/African/Caribbean/Black British (30%) respondents, reporting that they earn below the Living Wage.

In short, the charity sector which works so hard to support people in so many ways, was systematically underpaying its workers and to a greater extent than any other sector. Moreover, it was women, black, Asian and minority ethnic workers, and part-time workers who were bearing the brunt of this.

The Living Wage Foundation is asking for charities, large and small, to fill in a short survey that asks for your views on the barriers to implementing the Living Wage in the charity sector, and what can be done to overcome them.

This is a real opportunity for you to help bring about real and much-needed change.

Your responses will only be seen by the Living Wage Foundation, who will use them to help form the action plan to combat low pay in the sector. Your views are confidential and will not be shared.

The survey closes on Monday 29 January. Your feedback is hugely valued, and the action plan for challenging low pay in the sector will be publish in spring 2018.

We need to ensure that the charity sector is not contributing to conditions which will worsen the health of its workforce. To address this, we need to work with charities and charity employees to work out what we all do next to address this.

Please also share this survey on Facebook and Twitter.

To find out more about the Living Wage Foundation, click here



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