George Watson’s College announces Living Wage Accreditation

George Watson’s College has today accredited as a Living Wage employer. The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at the Edinburgh based independent school receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.90 per hour. This Living Wage rate was announced on Monday 15th November 2021 as part of Living Wage Week. This rate is significantly higher than the government minimum for over 23s, which currently stands at £9.50 per hour.

In Scotland, more than 14% of all jobs pay less than the real Living Wage – around 330,000 jobs. Despite this, George Watson’s College has committed to pay the real Living Wage or higher to its over 500 staff.

In November 2021, as part of Living Wage Week, the Edinburgh Living Wage Action Group announced its intention to ‘Make Edinburgh a Living Wage City’, working to double the number of Living Wage accredited businesses in Scotland’s capital. Today’s announcement strengthens the ambition of Edinburgh’s action group. George Watson’s College is the first Independent School in the city of Edinburgh to commit to paying the rate.

The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate calculated according to the costs of living. Employers choose to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis, recognising the value of their workers and ensuring that a hard day’s work receives a fair day’s pay.

Since 2011 the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 55,000 people in Scotland and put over £310 million extra into the pockets of low paid Scottish workers.

Principal, Melvyn Roffe said: “At Watson’s we have long tried to ensure that everyone is properly paid for their work, but now is the right time to make the public commitment as a real Living Wage employer. Poverty wages disrespect the contribution of individuals, put families under strain and undermine our communities. We should all do our bit to put a stop to them.”

Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance said: “We all need an income that is enough to cover our needs and protect us from poverty, and it’s only right that employers pay a wage that reflects the cost of living. Too many workers in Scotland are paid less than the real Living Wage and, at a time of rising costs, are struggling to stay afloat. The real Living Wage can offer protection from those rising costs.”

“Congratulations to George Watson’s College on their Living Wage commitment, and I hope more organisations follow their lead by becoming Living Wage accredited.”

Christine McCaig, Projects Coordinator, Living Wage Scotland said: “We’re delighted that George Watson’s College has become an accredited Living Wage employer. They join a growing movement of over 2700 employers in Scotland who together want to ensure workers have what they need to thrive, and their accreditation helps strengthen the drive to Make Edinburgh a Living Wage City. We look forward to working with more Edinburgh based employers in the coming months.

Our Living Wage employer network includes lots of smaller employers as well as larger and iconic brands like SSE, abrdn, Barrs, Mackie’s of Scotland, & D.C. Thomson. We hope to see many more employers following their example.”

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