Living Hours – first accredited employers


On 20th October 2020 Aviva and Standard Life Aberdeen were announced as the UK’s first accredited Living Hours Employers. Their accreditation means that, in addition to paying their staff the real Living Wage of £9.30 in the UK or £10.75 in London, they will provide them with a guaranteed and stable minimum of working hours each week.

The first Living Hours accreditations come amid strong public support for such measures during the pandemic. New polling conducted for the Living Wage Foundation shows that 84% of adults think that businesses should be required to offer guaranteed, regular shift patterns or number and frequency of working hours. This includes over 80% of adults in former “Red Wall” constituencies. 

The Living Hours programme sets a new standard for employers seeking to go beyond the Living Wage in their commitment to decent work. Employers who accredit with the programme commit to provide at least 4 weeks’ notice for every shift, with guaranteed payment if shifts are cancelled within this notice period. They also provide a guaranteed minimum of 16 working hours every week (unless the worker requests otherwise), and a contract that accurately reflects hours worked.

The new Living Hours standard reflects the fact that since the Living Wage campaign began in 2001, the shape of low-paid work has changed. There has been a well-documented rise in insecurity, with over 5 million workers in low-paid and insecure work on the eve of the pandemic. Since then the pandemic has underscored the challenge that insecurity poses to workers and families, with insecure work more prevalent among both key workers who have kept the economy going and low-paid service workers whose jobs have been most disrupted by lockdowns. Our research has found that the sectors with the highest numbers of people in low-paid and insecure work are retail (830,000), health and social work (640,000), and hospitality (580,000). 

Danielle Harmer, Chief People Officer, Aviva, said: 

“It’s time to put an end to insecure working contracts with unpredictable hours. Now more than ever, with so many facing uncertainty, being unable to rely on a steady income – even in the short term –  is adding to the stress people are experiencing.  Living Hours play a crucial role in providing people with financial security, clarity and certainty.”

Sandy MacDonald, Global Head of Corporate Sustainability, Standard Life Aberdeen, said:

“We’ve been delighted to work with Living Wage Foundation, other employers, and experts from across civil society to develop this accreditation and to be one of the first accredited Living Hours employers. Living Hours addresses a key issue driving in-work poverty in the UK and is a practical, voluntary commitment employers can make to give workers more security and confidence in planning their own and their families lives.”

Laura Gardiner, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “We’re delighted that Aviva and Standard Life Aberdeen have accredited as our first Living Hours Employers. This is a challenging time and the pandemic has affected all of our lives and livelihoods in some way. It has also shone a light on the importance of providing workers and families with stability and security, particularly those essential workers like cleaners, caterers and security staff that we have relied upon to keep our economy going. It’s therefore no surprise that there is strong public support for requirements to provide stable and guaranteed minimum hours. Committing to Living Hours represents businesses helping to lead us through and out of this crisis by strengthening their commitment to decent work.”

What is Living Hours?

Living Hours is a new standard that sets out what good looks like. It calls on employers to provide the right to:

  • Decent notice periods for shifts: of at least 4 weeks’ notice, with guaranteed payment if shifts are cancelled within this notice period.
  • A right to a contract with living hours: the right to a contract that reflects accurate hours worked, and a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week (unless the worker requests otherwise)

PAYadvice.UK 5/11/2020

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