What is the real Living Wage?



The real Living Wage


  • Only the real Living Wage is independently calculated  each year  based on what employees and their families need to live
  • The current UK Living Wage is £9.30 an hour
  • The current London Living Wage is £10.75 an hour
  • Employers choose to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis
  • The rates apply to all workers over 18 – in recognition that young people face the same living costs as everyone else
  • The real Living Wage that meets the cost of living enjoys cross party support, with public backing from MSPs and MPs across the political spectrum
  • Paying a wage that is enough to live on is good for business, good for the individual and good for society
  • The Living Wage Employer Mark and Service Provider Recognition Scheme provide an ethical badge for responsible pay


The Living Wage is reviewed each year and the new rate is announced in November during Living Wage Week.


For more information on how the real Living Wage is calculated, please click here.


How is it different from the government's 'national living wage'?



In April 2016 the government introduced a higher minimum wage rate for all staff over 25 years of age inspired by the Living Wage campaign - even calling it the ‘national living wage’.

However, the government's 'national living wage' is not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live. 

Instead, it is based on a target to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020. Under current forecasts this means a rise to less than £9 per hour by 2020. 

For under 25s, the minimum wage rates also take into account affordability for employers.

The real Living Wage rates are higher because they are independently-calculated based on what people need to get by. That's why we encourage all employers that can afford to do so to ensure their employees earn a wage that meets the costs of living, not just the government minimum.


The National Minimum Wage (including the "national living wage") is the legal minimum an employer can pay an employee. It is set by the UK Government.

The current National Minimum Wage is £6.45 per hour for 18-20 year olds, rising to £8.20 per hour for 21-24 year olds, then to the UK Government's "national living wage" of £8.72 for over 25s. The UK Living Wage is £9.30 per hour.


Further info


If you'd like to find out more about the benefits of paying the real Living Wage, and to find out how it is calculated, please go here.


For more information on why employers should consider going the extra mile and becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer please go here.


You can find a full list of accredited Living Wage Employers based in Scotland here.


We'd also love to hear from you so if you would like to speak to one of the team about the Living Wage, you can find our contact details here and if you'd like to meet the team we have a page for that too!


0141 353 0440

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