HARLOW Council has become the first Council in Essex and the first organisation in the town to be accredited a Living Wage Employer.
The Living Wage is an hourly rate (currently £7.45 per hour) set independently and updated annually, based on the cost living in the UK. The Living Wage campaign has been running for ten years and has lifted over 45,000 people out of poverty.
The Council, which has now officially been given the status, hopes that other businesses and organisations will follow its lead to help Harlow become a Living Wage town. The accreditation means that low-paid Harlow Council workers earn not just the Minimum Wage but the Living Wage.
“We know that paying employees a living wage is fair, helps tackle inequality and helps families become more independent – as well as having real benefits for employers and the local economy.”
Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “We have an aspiration to make Harlow a Living Wage town where low paid staff are protected and looked after. By leading on this issue and by taking this important first step we hope we can make this a reality. Paying the Living Wage would make such a difference in lifting low-paid workers out of poverty.
“The next stage for the Council is to make sure that the companies it works with as part of major contracts also adopt the Living Wage.”
Rhys Moore, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said “The benefits the Living Wage brings to staff and business are clear. I welcome the leadership shown by Harlow Council on this important issue.”
An independent study of the business benefits of implementing a Living Wage policy in London found that more than 80% of employers believe that the Living Wage had enhanced the quality of the work of their staff, while absenteeism had fallen by approximately 25%. Sixty-six percent of employers reported a significant impact on recruitment and retention within their organisation. Seventy percent of employers felt that the Living Wage had increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.
To find out more about becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer visit www.livingwage.org.uk
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