Living Wage Week 2020

26 November 2020

It’s been our first digital Living Wage Week, and the movement is stronger than ever. 

Thank you to our network of over 1900 accredited Living Wage employers for your support, and a warm welcome to the 200 new employers that have joined us since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

In Living Wage Week 2020, the new rate of £9.50 per hour was announced for the UK (£10.85 in London).   

29 Scottish media articles covered the real Living Wage rate increase, including coverage of 7 employers announcing their accreditation 

Our Social Media platforms were busier than ever during #LivingWageWeek and we saw an impressive 835% increase in mentions and 604% increase in profile visits on Twitter and Instagram respectively. We gained followers for our new LinkedIn page, and launched our new Living Wage Scotland website. 

So many of our Living Wage supporters and employers shared content to celebrate our movement and highlight that the real Living Wage is more relevant than ever, including videos, quotes and blogs. 

The top post across all our social media platforms featured a video of the First Minister of Scotland welcoming the new real Living Wage rate of £9.50. See it here.  

Over 200 participants joined our programme of industry themed online events 

Here’s a round-up of the activities.  


The week kicked off with the new rate announcement, and we had the pleasure of welcoming ENABLE Scotland to the Living Wage movement, which meant more than 1800 frontline keyworkers received an uplift to the real Living Wage. Their accreditation was covered by in The National and Glasgow Times 

We hosted our first online event of the week: the real Living Wage in Early Learning and ChildcareThe Scottish Government’s recent expansion of funded childcare has been welcomed by many, particularly parents. It has also presented challenges for providers in adapting their business models to embrace the real Living Wage 

Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People, provided an overview and progress of the Scottish Government’s policy on the real Living Wage in Early Learning Childcare (ELC), and three accredited service providers: Little Beehive Nursery Group,  ACE Place Nursery & OSC, and Hame Fae Hame, all shared their experience and insights into becoming a Living Wage employer, their views on promoting payment of the real Living Wage, and what more could be done to demonstrate the value of the ELC workforce and raise the profile of the sector. 


We held our online event: “Building a Fairer Scotland – Social Enterprise and the Living Wage” 

Attendees heard speakers from Social Enterprise Scotland, Hey Girls CIC and Edinburgh Remakery, who shared their testimony of the benefit they and their teams have gained from becoming Living Wage accredited employers. 

Later that day, we were pleased to present to members of the East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce at their Business Support Measures meeting. Our presentation covered the importance of the real Living Wage in our economic recovery and the benefits of accreditation 

Dundee based Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc announced their accreditation in support of Living Wage City Drive in Dundee. This announcement was welcomed by Dundee City Council leader Councillor John Alexander as well as Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce. 


Scotland’s largest health board: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde announced their accreditation, with over 39,000 workers covered by their Living Wage commitment. The announcement enjoyed coverage in local media, including Glasgow Times. The accreditation of NHS GGC is a significant milestone for the movement as they join NHS Lanarkshire as the only territorial health boards in Scotland who hold Living Wage employer accreditation.  

We hosted an event: “the real Living Wage in Adult Social Care. Adult Social Care has often been perceived as low skilled, yet the pandemic has elevated the importance of these key workers in the public eye, recognising the critical and complex nature of the work. 

Clare Haughey MSP, Minister for Mental Health, provided an overview of the Scottish Government policy to support payment of the real Living Wage in the sector, and Phillip Gillespie of the Scottish Social Services Council gave insights into low pay and how training and development can enhance professionalism in the sectorAndy Kerr, Chief Operating Officer at the Piper Group, and Libby Eavis, Director at Grandview House Care Home, both spoke about their experience of accreditation and shared views on the importance and challenges of implementing the real Living Wage for all who work in Adult Social Care.  

We hosted a webinar on flexible working in partnership with Timewiseoutlining the increased demand for flexibility in the context of the Covid-19, with advice for employers on offering flexibility. The need for flexibility in front line roles was linked to the gendered nature of low pay, as most workers paid below the real Living Wage are women   

Low pay in female dominated key worker industries, such as adult social care, was also highlighted by Close the Gap in their Living Wage Week blog, which discussed the importance of the real Living Wage in tackling women’s poverty in Scotland. Evidence shows that women are over-represented in low-paid and part-time jobs due to having to balance work with caring responsibilities and points to the ongoing undervaluation of “women’s work” in sectors such as social care and childcare – you can read the full blog here.   


We were delighted to host our Hospitality focused event “, with the aim to motivate, inform and inspire hospitality employers in these challenging times. Our guest speakers included Living Wage employer Sprigg, wellbeing focussed charity Hospitality Health and our motivational speaker Mollie Hughes. 

Mollie is the youngest woman to have summitted both the north and south sides of Mount Everest, as well as the youngest woman to have skied solo to the south pole! She spoke to our attendees about her experiences of keeping motivated during tough times and building resilience.  

Members of our Living Wage in Hospitality steering group filmed a short, uplifting (and quite funny) video, see it here 

We promoted our Ethical consumer guide, to spotlight some of the fantastic goods on offer from businesses that are committed to ensuring their staff earn enough to cover their everyday needs with a real Living Wage 

At a time of huge pressure on many industries, including transport and aviation, we were delighted that Highland and Islands Airports (HIAL) joined the Living Wage movement, ensuring that staff across 11 airports in the Scottish mainland and islands receive at least the real Living Wage of £9.50 per hour. 

The vital role of Living Wage employers in achieving and expanding “good work” in the coronavirus economy was examined by Gail Irvine, Senior Policy and Development Officer at Carnegie UK Trust in a blog published during Living Wage Week. This blog highlights that good work is an essential component of wellbeing of workers and notes the importance of schemes such as Living Wage Accreditation, Living Wage Places and Living Hours in protecting and expanding good work in ScotlandYou can read it here. 


Both National Health Boards: NHS Public Health Scotland and NHS National Services Scotland, received their Living Wage accreditations. These organisations together employ more than 4000 workers who have worked tirelessly through the COVID-19 pandemic to support colleagues across health and social care settings. You can find out more here. 

East Renfrewshire Council celebrated becoming an accredited Living Wage employerLocal Authorities have an important leadership role in the growth of the Living Wage movement and there are now 22 Living Wage accredited Scottish Local Authorities. The story was covered by local media including the Glasgow Times here 

The significant leadership role of large public sector organisations like NHS boards and Local Authorities was the centre-focus of the discussion during our online event: Real Living Wage & Anchor Institutions 

Professor Edmund Heery from Cardiff Business School shared findings from new research that shows Living Wage accreditation of Local Authorities can impact on the take up and growth of the Living Wage movement in the surrounding area.  

Participants heard from Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business Fair Work & Skills on the role of public sector leadership on fair work, North Ayrshire Council Leader Joe Cullinane, explained ways in which real Living Wage is a core feature of Ayrshire’s economic recovery plans, and Kerry McKenzie from Public Health Scotland outlined ways the real Living Wage can help tackle child poverty and improve health outcomes – calling for all agencies with these issues in their remit to become accredited. 

The importance of the real Living Wage for improving health outcomes was explained further in a blog by Gerry McCartney of Public Health Scotland – read it here.  

Making Living Wage Places in Scotland 

Recognising the scope for major Living Wage employers in growing the Living Wage movement at a local is at the heart of the Making Living Wage Places scheme. 

We welcomed the commitment from the Scottish Borders Living Wage Group to make Eildon a Living Wage Place and we hosted an online event on Making Stirling a Living Wage City with cross party politicians and employers. We were delighted to see publicity about the ambitions to make Edinburgh a Living Wage City here. 

We were proud to have Scotland represented at the Living Wage Foundation’s UK wide event Rebuilding with Living Wage PlacesParticipants heard Brewdog speaking passionately on the role of responsible brands in reviving our high streetsJamie Hepburn, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Fair Work & Skills sharing the vision to make Scotland a Living Wage Nation, and Peter Allan, sharing insights on forming the Dundee Living Wage City Action Group and securing Dundee as the UKs first city to achieve Making Living Wage Place recognition.  

Across Scotland, we are a movement of over 1800 employers that want to ensure workers can cover their everyday needs with a wage that reflects living costs. Together, Living Wage employers based in Scotland directly employ over 924,000 staff and accreditation has meant over 45,600 of those workers will benefit from an increase to the new wage rate of £9.50 per hour.  

Thank you to every accredited Living Wage employer in Scotland. 

You have already helped deliver over £240Million of extra wages for workers in Scotland as a result of your Living Wage commitment – and we are part of a wider movement of 7000 UK Living Wage employers that has delivered over £1.3 Billion of extra wages to low paid workers across the UK  

Our movement continues to grow, and signals hope that we can rebuild out of this crisis towards a resilient economy where everyone has what they need to thrive.  

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