Becoming a Living Wage Employer

As the Capital continues to see increases in the costs of private rent, childcare and travel – Heart of the City hosted an event to encourage more businesses to introduce this higher rate of base pay to ensure their employees earn a wage they can live on.

Following Living Wage Week, when it was announced that the London Living Wage had risen to £10.20 per hour, Heart of the City brought together speakers from the Living Wage Foundation, KPMG and OPM Group to discuss the business benefits and practicalities involved in becoming an accredited employer.

Good for your staff, good for your business and good for society

Becoming an accredited Living Wage employer demonstrates commitment to the Living Wage and being a responsible business.

Over 3,500 businesses in the UK have chosen to go further than the government minimum and voluntarily pay the real living wage to their staff since the Living Wage Foundation was set up in 2011.

Of those businesses who have become accredited:

  • 93% say it has benefited business
  • 86% say it has improved the reputation of the business
  • 75% say it has increased motivation and retention rates for employees
  • 64% say it has helped differentiate themselves from others in their industry

  • Taking action on low pay

    The Living Wage Foundation is leading a movement across the UK – calling for businesses to take action on low pay to ensure employees and their families are able to fully participate in society. We were joined by Caroline Reilly, Senior Programmes Manager at the Living Wage Foundation who shared some shocking stats;

  • 1 in 5 UK employees earn below the real Living Wage
  • Almost 5.5 million jobs earn less than the Living Wage
  • Earnings below the Living Wage are most prevalent for the hospitality, retail, cleaning and care industries.
  • London is the worst performing of all UK regions with an estimated 750,000 jobs being paid under the London Living Wage
  • Those employees worst affected are being forced to turn to pay-day loans and foodbanks as a means to get by because their wages don’t cover their cost of living.

  • KPMG

    KPMG were the first business to become a Living Wage accredited employer in 2011. We were joined by Andy Bagnall, Director of External Affairs at KPMG – who told us how the firm were persuaded by the moral case of the London Citizens campaigners who protested outside their offices in Canary Wharf back in 2006 for a higher rate of base pay.

    Since becoming an accredited employer KPMG have noted a number of business benefits including: driving up social mobility, being able to recruit from the widest talent pool, a measurable increase in productivity and motivation, better retention of staff and a reduction in abseentism. As the first accredited employer, KPMG remain heavily involved with the Living Wage Foundation and advise other businesses who are keen to embark upon a similar journey. You can read KPMG’s latest report on the Living Wage here

    What do I need to do to become accredited?

    The journey to becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer is simple and can start from as little as £60 for a small business. To become accredited you need to:

  • Pay the real living wage to all of your directly employed staff
  • Have a plan to pay your on-site contractors a living wage
  • Complete the Living Wage Foundation’s application form

  • Case study: OPM Group

    OPM Group is a small independent research organisation and consultancy based in London. With a strong social purpose as an employee-owned company, paying the Living Wage is something that has been an area of debate and interest for OPM Group for a number of years. Having first looked into this in 2014, OPM Group have had a long journey towards becoming an accredited employer. When they initially considered accreditation staff were not supportive, due to recent pay cuts and freezes. OPM’s Chief Executive, Peter Holland, then decided to revisit the subject as part of a longer-term initiative to build the core values of the business.

    OPM Group joined Heart of the City’s Newcomers programme in 2017, Peter told us that joining this programme gave OPM the motivation to re-look at the steps required to become an accredited employer and implement a proper pay policy. Driving forward with their application to the Living Wage Foundation, OPM Group were not only successful in becoming accredited in June 2017 they also managed to encourage two other businesses within their multi-tenanted offices to do the same.

    The Living Wage Foundation is keen to have a conversation with any companies interested in exploring accreditation. For more information, please contact Living Wage Foundation directly.

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