Living wage: are you taking the pledge?
In light of welfare reform and the changes to the benefit system there are huge concerns around the impact this is going to have on families with children and the increase in numbers of those living in poverty. In the current tough economic climate where families and individuals are already struggling this is estimated to get worse, and issues around child poverty and in work poverty are really starting to take effect.
As part of our work around welfare reform and the impact on poverty and social exclusion, the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) are working closely with the North East Child Poverty Commission around their campaign on the living wage. NHC have agreed to map out across the membership the number of housing providers that have or are looking to commit to taking the living wage pledge.
The living wage is an hourly rate that is set independently and updated annually, its calculation is set according to the basic cost of UK living. The UK Living Wage is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy, which is currently £7.45 per hour. The London Living Wage is calculated by the Greater London Authority, and is currently £8.55 per hour. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.
The NHC have compiled a short survey for members to complete to identify what the thinking is around this agenda and how many of our members are considering adopting the living wage across their organisations, and mapping out some of the issues and challenges and what support NHC and other partner organisations can provide.
According to the Living Wage Foundation living wage employers report improved morale, lower turnover of staff, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and improved customer service. Between them, the employers committed to paying a Living Wage have lifted more than 45,000 families out of working poverty. Over 200 employers from every sector are now paying accredited living wage employers.
Adopting the living wage pledge provides an opportunity to raise income levels, tackle financial exclusion, tackle poverty and address health and wellbeing issues, which some families and individuals are experiencing increasingly on a day to day basis and overall improves life prospects. From a business perspective it improves staff morale and saves money on areas around recruitment and staff absenteeism, and provides a new stimulus to the local economy and there are also considerable reputational benefits to being associated with the living wage.
The Living Wage campaign has cross party support, with public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
For more information on the Living Wage and how to become a living wage employer please visit www.livingwage.org.uk/employers.