Real Living Wage rises to £9.90 an hour
More than 300,000 people working for employers who have voluntarily signed up to the Real Living Wage are getting a pay boost of 40p to £9.90 an hour.
This is different from the compulsory National Living Wage, which is currently £8.91 an hour for anyone over the age of 23. Real Living Wage employers in London will pay £11.05 an hour, a 20p rise.
Latest research by the Living Wage Foundation shows that there are still 4.8 million jobs – 17.1% of all employees – still paying less than the Real Living Wage in the UK.
Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of jobs paying below the Living Wage at 21.3%, while south-east England had the lowest at 12.8%.
Workers from ethnic minority groups are also more likely to be low-paid, with 19.4% of these workers earning below the Living Wage, compared with 16.3% of white workers.
Almost 9,000 employers throughout the country have signed up to the policy – 3,000 of them during the pandemic.
Companies include half of the FTSE 100 and big household names such as Everton Football Club, insurer Aviva, luxury goods brand Burberry and the Nationwide building society.
The recommended rate is intended to ensure all staff earn a wage that meets the real cost of living and covers everyday needs.
The Living Wage Foundation’s director, Katherine Chapman, said the new pay rates, which apply from Monday, would “provide hundreds of thousands of workers and their families with greater security and stability”.
“It is still a pound, two pounds higher than the [national] minimum wage and that makes a huge difference. That means not having to worry about putting food on the table, or paying the bills at the end of the month.
“And we’ve seen record numbers of employers signing up this year because ultimately they want to do the right thing by their workers.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said that the organisation’s report showed that low pay was “endemic”, with millions of workers in jobs that do not fully cover their bills.
“With Britain in the middle of a cost-of-living crunch, it’s time for the government to act,” she said.
“Ministers must start by increasing the minimum wage to £10 immediately, banning zero hours contracts and giving trade unions greater access to workplaces to negotiate improved pay and conditions.”
At the Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the National Living Wage will increase next year by 6.6%, to £9.50 an hour. The Universal Credit taper rate will also be cut, allowing claimants to keep more of the payment.
Usdaw leader Paddy Lillis said that the new rate of £9.90 per hour and £11.05 in London was welcome but that the union would continue to call for at least £10 per hour for all ages.
He added: “Many of the key workers who have helped us through the pandemic earn less than the real Living Wage.
“The public’s appreciation for the efforts of key workers delivering essential services is welcome, but that doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table.
“So the new Living Wage rates are welcome, which are based on an individual’s cost of living and clearly show that the Government’s so-called ‘National Living Wage’ is nothing of the sort.
“Usdaw has consistently campaigned for at least £10 per hour immediately for all workers over 16, which would abolish rip-off youth rates.
“If you’re old enough to do the job, you’re old enough to be paid the rate for the job.”