Harlow Council encourage others to pay the Living Wage

Politics / Thu 5th Nov 2015 at 01:51pm

HARLOW Council is encouraging businesses and organisations in the town to pay the voluntary Living Wage to help make Harlow a fairer town in which to live and work.

In 2013 Harlow Council become the first Council in Essex to become an accredited Living Wage Employer and is making a call to businesses to follow its lead as part of Living Wage Week 2015.

Today the Council is one of more than 2,000 employers who pay their staff at least the new voluntary Living Wage rate of £8.25 per hour (rising from £7.85) which was announced on Monday (2 November 2015) by the Living Wage Foundation.

The Living Wage rate, which is set independently and updated annually is based on the cost of living. It is higher than the national minimum wage of £6.70 per hour, and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.20 per hour called the “National Living Wage” that will come into force across the UK in April 2016. The government rate is separate to the Living Wage rate calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.

Kier Harlow Ltd joined the Council in 2014 to also become a Living Wage Employer. Employees of Kier Harlow Ltd will continue to be paid at least the voluntary Living Wage rate when they transfer in 2017 to the Local Authority Trading Company. The Council also encourages all its suppliers to pay the Living Wage through its procurement processes.

According to the Living Wage Foundation there are a total of eight Living Wage employers in Harlow including U First Care, Land Sheriffs Ltd, GSK as well as bank branches of Lloyds, Nationwide and Barclays.

Councillor Jean Clark, Portfolio Holder for Governance, said: “We want to make Harlow the first ‘Living Wage town’ as 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. Since 2013 we have made the commitment to all our staff that they get paid at least a Living Wage which goes up every year based on the cost of living. Paying the Living Wage is about protecting, looking after low-paid staff, and making Harlow a fairer place in which to live and work.

“The benefits to businesses of paying a Living Wage and being accredited by the Living Wage Foundation is that it can enhance the quality of work of their staff, reduce absenteeism, help with recruitment and retention and increase awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.”

More information on the voluntary living wage and the schemes available for businesses and organisations can be found at www.livingwage.org.uk

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