The Living Wage Foundation is celebrating its 5,000th Living Wage employer, with the University of Manchester joining the growing movement of responsible employers.
The commitment to pay the real Living Wage will see everyone working at the University, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receive a minimum hourly wage of £9. This is significantly higher than the government minimum wage of £8.21 for over 25s and means workers on the government minimum wage are £1540.50 worse off.
The number of accredited Living Wage employers has now more than doubled since the Government’s higher minimum wage, the ‘National Living Wage’, was announced in 2016.
At least 180,000 workers have had a pay rise from the 5,000 accredited Living Wage employers, with over £800m extra put back into workers’ pockets as a result of the campaign.
Although thousands of employers have already embraced the Living Wage, low pay remains a particular challenge in the voluntary and community sector.
The Living Wage Foundation’s report, Low Pay in the Charity Sector, highlighted that more than a quarter of charity sector workers (26.2%) are not being paid enough to live off as they do not receive the real Living Wage.
The 2017 report showed that women, black, Asian and minority ethnic workers, and part-time workers were bearing the brunt of this. 30.4% of females earn less than the Living Wage, compared to 21% of males. By age group, young people aged between 18 and 21 are the most affected, with 69% earning below the real Living Wage. Part-time workers are also more likely to be affected by low pay (42.7%) compared to just under a fifth (19%) of full-time workers in the charity sector.
People from minority ethnic and refugee backgrounds are particularly affected by low pay with Black/African/Caribbean/Black British respondents (30%) and ‘Other Asian Background’ survey respondents (62%) reporting earning below the Living Wage.
People’s Health Trust has been a Living Wage Employer since 2012 and is one of the founders of the Living Wage Funders scheme which works to end low pay in the voluntary and community sector.
As a result of the Living Wage Funders’ scheme, over £920 million is being annually granted to charities, meaning the lowest paid workers in the sector are now receiving the Living Wage.
John Hume, Chief Executive of people’s Health Trust and Chair of the Steering Committee of the Living Wage Funders, said: “It is a huge milestone for the Living Wage to celebrate its 5,000th employer. It is crucial that the Living Wage becomes the norm in every sector, including the voluntary and community sector which is currently a chronic low-payer.”
The real Living Wage is independently-calculated based on what employees and their families need to live. The rate is calculated annually based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK and London. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.