Today marks the start of Living Wage Week (15 to 21 November), which celebrates the 20th anniversary of a movement that has given hundreds of thousands of workers a pay rise with a real Living Wage.
Over the past two decades, the movement has grown significantly. From signing up the first Living Wage supporter in 2004, to having over 8,000 businesses accredited across the country, £1.5bn now goes back into the pockets of low paid workers from a range of sectors and industries.
What is the Living Wage?
The Living Wage goes above and beyond the government minimum wage, to meet the cost of living. It is the only rate independently calculated annually, based on the real cost of living, and it is paid on a voluntary basis. It ensures that those working in vital services, like cleaning or security, are paid fairly for their commitment and dedication.
How can I get involved?
Businesses can get involved in the movement in two ways:
- You can sign up to become a Living Wage Employer, which means that you commit to paying every single employee at least the Real Living Wage.
- Or you can become a Recognised Service Provider. These businesses pay all directly employed staff at least the real Living Wage, but also offer a real Living Wage bid alongside every market rate submitted to all prospective and current clients. This means the client always has the choice to implement the real Living Wage at the point of tender.
Our commitment to the Living Wage
We have been strong supporters of the Living Wage movement for many years. In fact, we were a founding member of its Recognised Service Provider Scheme and were one of the first national contract cleaning companies to sign up to it.
We took these steps to lead the industry in tackling in-work poverty and improve the wellbeing of our lower paid employees.
Why? Because we believe that people who are willing to work hard should be rewarded sufficiently, so that they feel . After all, without our front line staff, we don’t have a business.
Changing lives for the better
Over the years, we have seen first-hand what a difference paying the Living Wage makes, from improving relationships between employer and colleague, to ensuring a better standard of living for our people. It has the potential to make a real difference to peoples’ lives.
Take Emma Black for example, a Kingdom Cleaning operative at the Bank of New York Mellon in Edinburgh. As a single parent of two, working 15 hours a week, the Living Wage makes a real difference to her. She told us that before working for Kingdom Cleaning, she would spend every day counting the pennies and trying to budget enough to get by until the next time she got paid. Since working for us, she says her life has dramatically changed for the better and her children are much better off for it. The Living Wage has helped her get herself and her children out of an unsafe flat and into a nice house where they can build a family home.
Getting involved with the Living Wage movement has, without a doubt, been one of the most positive initiatives that we have adopted, and we hope that by doing our bit to spread awareness, more businesses will follow suit and make the working world a much fairer and rewarding place for all.