Following the announcement today (24 October) by the Living Wage Foundation of the new Real Living Wage rates for the coming year – £12/hour across the UK and £13.15/hour in London – Cambridge City Council has announced its continuing commitment to paying employees the voluntary rate.
Affected employees’ pay will be increased to the new rate from 1 November, with the new rate reflected in November pay packets.
As of this November the council will have been accredited with the Foundation for nine years – meaning it has been paying all direct employees at least the independently calculated Real Living Wage since 2014.
It also means that the council has been ensuring that staff on its contracts who work for two or more hours a week, for eight consecutive weeks or more, are paid the rate in line with the Living Wage Foundation’s requirements for accreditation.
The Real Living Wage is different from the government’s National Living Wage rate of £10.42/hour. The government’s National Living Wage rate is based on a percentage of median income, whereas the Real Living Wage is calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation, based on evidence about living standards across the UK. It reflects what workers and their families need to earn to meet everyday essentials like energy bills, the weekly shop, school uniforms, or a surprise trip to the dentist.
The Real Living Wage also applies to employees regardless of age or experience, whereas the government’s National Living Wage only applies to people aged 23 and above. For workers aged 22 and under the National Minimum Wage still applies, which ranges from £6.83 for 18-20 year olds, to £9.18 for 21-22 year olds.
The Real Living Wage rate increases each year to reflect a minimum rate of pay for a core basket of goods and services that people in the UK believe is necessary to meet everyday needs. From the date the new rates are announced, employers that are accredited with the Living Wage Foundation have six months in which to implement the new rates.
Cllr Alice Gilderdale, Executive Councillor for Community Wealth Building and Community Safety, said: “For organisations wanting to demonstrate their commitment as a responsible employer, Living Wage accreditation is the best place to start. We are very proud of our long-standing commitment to paying at least the Real Living Wage to all staff, regardless of their age or experience.
“Since we became accredited in 2014, we’ve also been raising awareness of the importance of the Real Living Wage among other local employers and supporting employers with the practicalities of applying for accreditation.
“There are now over 75 other local employers accredited with the Living Wage Foundation in Greater Cambridge. Given the increased costs of living and in-work poverty, it is great to see that the Real Living Wage rate has increased to £12. Of course, we would encourage employers who can to go above and beyond this rate to support their staff. Cambridge is the third least affordable city to privately rent, and as people will be well aware, the cost of living has risen significantly.”
According to the Foundation, a full-time worker earning the new Real Living Wage rate would earn over £3,000 a year more than a worker earning the current government minimum (the National Living Wage), and over £2,000 more than their current pay.
Find out more about the Real Living Wage, including a full list of Living Wage employers based in Cambridge.