The real Living Wage hourly rates for 2020/21 have been increased, widening the gap between this voluntary wage rate and the government's statutory minimum wage rates.
Over 250,000 people working for almost 7,000 real Living Wage Employers throughout the country are set for a pay rise as the new Living Wage rates rise to £9.50 across the UK (a 20p increase) and £10.85 in London (a 10p increase).
The real Living Wage rates are based on independent calculations of what people actually need to live on; it is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by nearly 7,000 UK businesses.
It is not the same as the compulsory National Living Wage, which is currently £8.72 an hour for anyone over the age of 25. The UK real Living Wage rate is 78p per hour more than the government living wage (for over 25s) and the London Living Wage is £2.13 per hour higher.
A full-time worker paid the new £9.50 real Living Wage will receive over £1,500 in additional wages annually compared to the current government minimum; for a full-time worker in London this figure rises to over £4,000.
Over 800 more employers have accredited with the Living Wage Foundation since the start of the pandemic, with major new names including Tate and Lyle, Capital One, Network Rail and the All England Lawn Tennis Club. These organisations join a network of almost 7,000 employers, including two-fifths of the FTSE 100 companies, household names like Aviva, Nationwide and Brewdog, as well as thousands of small businesses.
Research conducted by Cardiff Business School has highlighted the significant impact of the Living Wage campaign since the start of the pandemic. Over 250,000 workers have benefitted from an additional £200 million since the start of lockdown, including 130,000 key workers. Since 2011, over £1.3bn in extra wages has gone to workers and families through the Living Wage.
However, research by the Living Wage Foundation shows that 5.5 million employees (a fifth of employees) are still paid under the real Living Wage.
Laura Gardiner, Living Wage Foundation director, said: "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 … These are the employers that will allow us to recover and rebuild from this crisis."
Oliver, a delivery rider at e-cargobikes.com, said: "Earning a Living Wage means I am able to support a household, including my partner, and [that] takes a huge load from my shoulders. To be employed by an organisation that not only treats people with respect but backs that up with decent pay means that I feel valued in a way that no other flexible work has provided. The psychological benefit of this will extend further than me and reminds me that I work for a company that sees further than the person as an employee, but also sees their capacity to contribute to wider society when treated fairly."
Written by Rachel Miller.