The real living wage is set to increase by 20p for over 250,000 people in the UK.
The increase of the real living wage has been designed to help benefit both workers and families during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the wage increasing by 20p for the majority of people across the country, for people in London their wage is only set to rise by 10p, putting their wage up to £10.85 an hour. Since the start of lockdown over 800 employers have joined the Living Wage Foundation, including Network Rail and Capital One. This is in addition to 7,000 employers across the UK who are paying this recommended rate to “ensure all staff earn a wage that meets the real cost of living, and covers everyday needs.”
The real living wage shouldn’t be confused with the compulsory National Living Wage which stands at £8.72 for anyone over the age of 25.
Even though more and more businesses have increased the real living wage for employees, The Living Wage Foundation shows that there are still 5.5 million jobs which are still being payed less than the real Living Wage in the UK. This is 20% of all employees. Shockingly, women were more likely to be paid below the Living Wage in April 2020 than men, with “60% of below Living Wage jobs being held by women” – wrote the BBC. This difference in pay clearly shows that there are still levels of both sexism and inequality within the work environment, despite the increase of equality in other areas of society.
The highest amount of jobs which are paid below the Living Wage are in sectors such as retail and wholesale, which make up 1.3 million jobs in the UK. These are much larger sectors than the arts, entertainment and recreation. When it comes to hospitality, they have the highest proportion of jobs paid below the Living Wage, sitting at 70.8% in comparison to the arts at just 36.8%. The real living wage has become very important to young adults under the age of 25, who are not yet eligible for the National Living Wage. By introducing the real living wage, it has allowed people to stop working extra hours in order to make ends meet, and stick to their usual set hours. In return it means employees treat their employer well, they are happy in their job role and can spend more time with their families. Due to lockdown this has become rather important, and employees are grateful for the benefits it brings.