Rotherham Council has been formally accredited as a real living wage employer, Council Leader, Councillor Chris Read announced at a recent Full Council meeting.
It means the Council has joined around 7,000 employers in the UK in being recognised by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), underlining the authority’s commitment to paying its workers a fair wage, supporting the local economy and encouraging other local employers to follow suit.
Being a Living Wage employer formally commits the Council to paying its own lowest-paid staff at a rate determined independently and based on the real cost of living as well as working with its contractors to secure the real living wage to employees providing services on behalf of the Council.
Councillor Read said: “With the cost of living increasing and recruitment of staff becoming increasingly competitive, it’s an important sign of our commitment that the Council is receiving this accreditation.
“In 2015, the Council agreed with our trade unions that we would pay at least the Living Wage Foundation rate to directly employed staff – around 1,400 people at that time. Then towards the end of 2019 when we appointed new providers of home care a further 970 indirectly employed staff also came into line with that. Through our social value policy, the Council encourages all the companies we work with to pay real Living Wage rates.
“Accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation enhances our ability to recruit and retain staff and strengthens our position as a community leader in this area. And when we know that low paid staff are more likely to spend money in the local economy, it’s also good news for other local businesses and the wider community.”
The current LWF hourly rate (outside London) is £9.50 per hour, compared with the Government’s National Living Wage rate of £8.72 per hour. The LWF rate is reassessed in November every year, with accredited employers committing to pay the new rate within six months of it being set.
The Yorkshire and Humber region has one of the highest proportions of non-Living Wage jobs in the country (22%), with over 465,000 jobs paying less than the real Living Wage.
Laura Gardiner, Director, Living Wage Foundation said: “We’re delighted that Rotherham Council has joined the movement of over 7,000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on.
“They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as Burberry, Barclays, Everton Football Club and many more. These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like Rotherham Council, believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”
Further information about the Living Wage is available from the Living Wage Foundation Website.