Pay boost for over 64,000 Scottish workers as real Living Wage increases

24 October 2023

    • 10.1% increase in real Living Wage
    • Over 3,400 Scottish employers are Living Wage accredited, meaning a pay boost for 64,200 workers
    • Over 460,000 Living Wage workers are set for a pay boost at 14,000 Living Wage employers across the UK
    • £485 million in extra wages has gone to low-paid workers in Scotland since the campaign began
    • The new rates are now worth over £3,000 more per year than the minimum wage

Over 64,000 Scottish workers will receive a vital cost-of-living pay boost thanks to the over 3,400 Scottish employers. The new Living Wage rate rises to £12 an hour across the UK outside of London (a £1.10 increase). The real Living Wage rates remain the only wage rates independently calculated based on what people need to live on. This year the rate increased by 10.1% in the UK, reflecting persistently high costs and levels of financial hardship for low paid workers.

Recent research by the Living Wage Foundation shows that despite inflation easing, the cost-of-living crisis is far from over for Britain’s 3.5m low paid workers, with 60% having used a food bank in the past year and 39% regularly skipping meals for financial reasons.

The real Living Wage vs the ‘National Living Wage’ – the difference

Unlike the Government minimum wage (‘National Living Wage’ for over 23s – £10.42) the real Living Wage is the only wage rate independently calculated based on rising living costs and applies to everyone over 18.

A full-time worker earning the new, real Living Wage would earn £3,085 a year more than a worker earning the current government minimum (NLW), and £2,145 more than their current pay.

The Real Living Wage in Scotland

New research from Cardiff Business School shows that Living Wage workers in Scotland have benefitted from more than £485m in extra wages since the campaign began. There are now well over 3,400 Living Wage employers in Scotland.

Low pay

There are 3.5m jobs (12.2% of employee jobs, or 1 in 8 jobs) paid less than the real Living Wage. According to Living Wage Foundation projections, the scale of low pay is predicted to increase substantially to 5.1m (18.5% of jobs) in 2023.

Research published recently by the Living Wage Foundation found that despite easing inflation, the cost-of-living crisis is far from over for low paid workers, with 50% worse off than a year ago. 43% of low paid workers reported regularly using a foodbank (at least once per month) and 39% reported falling behind on household bills.

Small Business Minister, Richard Lochhead said:The Scottish Government believes that all workers should be paid fairly. I am proud that Scotland leads the UK in payment of the real Living Wage and applaud the increasing number of employers who are realising the benefits of doing so and are making that commitment.

“In 2022 a record 91 per cent of employees aged over 18 earned the real Living Wage or more in Scotland – higher than the UK as a whole and above any other UK country. There are more than 3,400 accredited real Living Wage employers, which is proportionately five times as many as in the rest of the UK.

“However, there is more to do, and I encourage all organisations regardless of size, sector or location to seek accreditation and ensure that everyone receives a fair day’s pay for the work they do. The Scottish Government is playing its part, and has attached the Fair Work First criteria, which includes payment of the real Living Wage, to some £4 billion of public funding since 2019.”

Peter Kelly, Director at the Poverty Alliance, said: “Paying the Living Wage has always been about doing the right thing. People living on the lowest incomes are being squeezed hardest by high prices for essentials like food, housing and energy, so it’s never been more important that employers commit to at least the real Living Wage to help release the grip of poverty in Scotland. Today as the Living Wage rate rises, we commend the leadership of over 3,400 Living Wage employers in Scotland and call on many more to pay the Living Wage and become accredited. We all need an income that is enough to cover our needs and protect us from poverty, and it’s only right that employers play their part by paying a wage that covers the cost of living.”

Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Scotland Manager said: “More employers across Scotland are joining the Living Wage employer movement because they recognise that a Living Wage commitment is a necessary and sensible investment in their workforce. By supporting workers to cover their everyday needs with a real Living Wage, employers benefit through improvements in staff recruitment and retention, and a healthier, happier and more motivated workforce. We hope more employers will consider Living Wage employer accreditation as an important action to support workers and their families to thrive”. 

Dani Fraser, Head of People at Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group, said: “Sadly, not everything is in our control or influence when it comes to easing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, but paying the real Living Wage to our team is one way we can positively contribute. It sends a message to our team that their happiness and wellbeing is important to us and creates a foundation for a fair pay structure across the business. Our mission is to make life better through hospitality, and being a Living Wage employer is a crucial aspect of helping us work towards this. We hope that fellow employers join the Living Wage movement – we have experienced first-hand what a positive difference it can make to your team, your business, and the wider community.”

Michael, a front of house team member at Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group said:As a young person, I think it’s an amazing opportunity to be paid this wage, as I can use it to help with the unpredictable future. There’s a real feeling of value working for a company who pay the real Living Wage – it makes everyone equal at work, and we all feel highly motivated and proud of what we do because of this. In a world where you witness a lot of greed, it’s nice to be part of a company that’s thinking about how it can support its team – the real Living Wage reflects that.”

Jennifer, a Facilities Officer at GavHas Services said: “Being paid the real Living Wage really helps me provide for my family and takes away the financial worry allowing me to have more disposable income at the end of the month.”

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