What is the Living Wage?
The Living Wage is a campaign begun by citizens and supported by businesses. It encourages employers to commit to paying their employees a ‘real living wage’ as calculated for that year.
The Real Living Wage is calculated based on what individuals and families need to live, and is revised based on rising living costs every year. It is an amount calculated to ensure essentials can be provided and living circumstances can be secure. Find out more about how it is calculated here.
There is a London weighting which means that the rate in the capital is slightly higher.
This year’s rates were published in November: £9.50 in the UK and £10.85 in London. Over 7000 employers in the UK are signed up to the real Living Wage Campaign.
The Real Living Wage is different to the minimum wage (the government standard for under 25s) or the National Living Wage (the government minimum for over 25s). These amounts are not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live, as the Real Living Wage is.
What are Living Hours?
Alongside the Living Wage campaign, there is the Living Hours campaign. This came about because millions of low-paid workers are still struggling to get the hours they need to make ends meet.
This standard calls on employers to give decent notice periods for shifts and a right to at least 16 hours a week (unless the worker requests otherwise).
Why is the Living Wage important?
The living Wage is good for business: research shows that it leads to a much lower staff turnover rate, to increased staff motivation and improves the reputation of a business – among other benefits.
But it’s also really good for society. People who are paid enough to live on are able to stop worrying about affording the basics, can save for an emergency, and it gives people more breathing space around their money situation.
Why does the Living Wage matter to Christians?
As Christians we believe that everyone has a right to dignity, and to live life to the full. To enable this, we need to think about our economy. The Living Wage gives everyone the right to earn enough to live with dignity and without struggling to make ends meet.
Christ’s care for the poor is something that can be addressed systemically as well as charitably. Our systems can change to enable this: just like ensuring that everyone has the right to enough income to live on.
As Paul says in Romans 4: ‘Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.’ A fair income is vital to the flourishing of all life, and the Living Wage is one way of ensuring an economy that works for everyone.