About the Living Wage

1. What is a Living Wage?

A wage that reflects the basic cost of living in an area or city.   It is higher than the national minimum wage, which usually fails to meet the high costs of living, particularly in the South-East of England.  Earning a living wage enables individuals and households to meet their living costs and come out of poverty, and motivates them as employees. It contributes to creating a more equal society.

2. How much is a Living Wage?

In London the Living Wage is £7.85. This is higher than the national minimum wage (NMW) rates, which are: £5.80 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older, a development rate of £4.83 per hour for workers aged 18-21 inclusive and £3.57 per hour for all workers under the age of 18, no longer of compulsory school age. A living wage can vary, depending on the cost of living in a certain area or city. NMW rates will increase slightly on 1st October 2010. (direct.gov)

3. What are the benefits of a Living Wage?

For the employee
– A higher wage enabling them to meet living costs.
– Employees are less reliant on welfare benefits.
– It boosts employee morale and motivation to work.
– A higher quality of living for employees enables them and their families to live above the poverty line.
– There are substantial health benefits to being paid an adequate wage

For the employer
– Better quality service or production.
– Greater staff retention, lowering recruitment costs.
– Greater staff morale
– Demonstrates a company or organisation’s commitment to social responsibility.

For the local community
– Less take-up of benefits by low-paid workers brings savings for the taxpayer.
– Better paid workers feel more secure and have more time to spend on community activities.

4.  Has the Living Wage worked?

Yes, the implementation of the Living Wage in London has benefited a significant number of workers, businesses and communities. See the successes page for more details.

6. What is the aim of the Brighton and Hove Living Wage campaign?

Initially we are campaigning for Brighton and Hove City Council to commit to paying a living wage to all of their staff, and ensure the same standards apply to their contractors, suppliers and agency staff.

We are asking Brighton and Hove City Council to include a commitment in their February 2011 budget to paying all staff a Living Wage.

7. Who supports the Living Wage campaign?

A number of trade unions, community groups and politicians support the concept of a Living Wage. Many companies and councils, especially in London, now pay a living wage. See examples on our supporters page.

8. How could a Living Wage be funded?

We believe that organisations can re-structure their budgets to fund the introduction of a living wage. There are also savings to be made in terms of staff retention.

Some companies, such as Toyota and St Lukes advertising agency, apply a pay differential where the highest paid member of staff is paid no more than 10 times the lowest paid.

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