Living Wage Week, from 9-15 November 2020, is a UK-wide celebration of the almost 7,000 employers that have voluntarily committed to ensure employees and sub-contracted staff earn a real Living Wage. This includes more than two-fifths of the FTSE 100 and major household names such as Brewdog, Everton FC, Aviva, Burberry, and Nationwide.
The real Living Wage rates for 2020/21 have been announced as £9.50 in the UK and £10.85 in London. This means:
- Over 250,000 people are set for a pay boost
- Since 2011, over £1.3 billion in extra wages has gone to low-paid workers thanks to the Living Wage movement, with £800m going to people in key worker industries
- Nearly £200 million in extra wages has gone to low-paid workers since the start of lockdown 
- Living Wage Foundation research finds that 5.5 million employees (a fifth of employees) are still paid under the real Living Wage
Become a real Living Wage Employer
Over 250,000 people working for almost 7,000 real Living Wage Employers throughout the country are set for a vital pay boost as the new Living Wage rates rise to £9.50 across the UK (20p increase), and £10.85 in London (10p increase), supporting workers and families through the pandemic. The Living Wage rates are the only rates independently calculated based on what people need to live on.
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, Network Rail, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (The Championships, Wimbledon), Capital One.
These organisations join a network of almost 7,000 employers across the UK, including two-fifths of the FTSE 100 companies, household names like Aviva, Nationwide, Everton FC,and Brewdog, as well as thousands of small businesses, who are choosing to pay the real Living Wage to ensure all staff earn a wage that meets the real cost of living, and covers everyday needs.
Research conducted by Cardiff Business School has demonstrated 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.
The UK rate is 78p per hour more than the government minimum 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.
The announcement comes as new research by the Living Wage Foundation has demonstrated the scale of low pay during the pandemic, with 5.5 million jobs (20.3% of employee jobs) still paying less than the real Living Wage. Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of jobs paying below the Living Wage (25.3%) and Scotland the lowest (15.2%).
Laura Gardiner, Living Wage Foundation Director, said:
“It’s an incredibly challenging time for us all, but 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. During Living Wage Week it’s right that we celebrate those employers that have done right by workers and families, providing them with much needed security and stability even when times are hard. These are the employers that will allow us to recover and rebuild from this crisis.”
The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, said:
“As our leaders continue to grapple with managing this pandemic, it is critical that all of our workers are kept in the heart of all quarantine management and recovery plans. Throughout this pandemic, we have depended on those of us who have selflessly put their work ahead of their own health and wellbeing for the continued functioning of our society. Over the past few months, we have recognised and applauded their fantastic work; now, this Living Wage Week, it is time we do the morally right thing and follow this recognition with well-deserved reward, paying them what they need to live. It is right to be paid a fair day’s wage.”
Gerald Mason, Senior Vice President of Tate and Lyle Sugars, said:
“Tate & Lyle Sugars is proud to have been formally accredited as a Living Wage employer. It has been the cleaners, security guards and catering staff who have kept our factories clean, safe and well-fed over the last 6 difficult months. We’re pleased to recognise their value and role in helping us feed the nation.”
Loraine Martins, Network Rail’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, said:
“I am delighted that Network Rail has been accredited as a Real Living Wage employer. While we already pay our 41,000 employees the Real Living Wage, official accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation means that thousands of rail workers in our supply chain will also benefit. The varied work that rail staff carry out on our trains, in our stations and on our tracks has never been more important than in recent months, where they have helped to keep Britain connected in challenging times by running a safe and reliable service for key workers and others relying on the railway. Our work with contractors and the Living Wage Foundation will ensure that railway staff are paid appropriately for their vital work.”
Owen, Team Member of TTK Confectionary Nottingham, said:
“The Real Living Wage has allowed me to pay my bills and save for the first time. I am saving for driving lessons and a car. I feel valued and appreciated and that my hard work and dedication has been recognised through the introduction of the Living Wage.”
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 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.”
PAYadvice.UK 9/11/2020 updated 20/2/2021