Real Living Wage Scheme 2022: what is it, how much is it and which businesses are signed up

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More and more employers in Leeds are signing up for the scheme.

As the UK’s cost of living crisis rages on, increasing amounts of people across the country are struggling to make ends meet.

It has reached a point where many on minimum wage can no longer lead a quality life - leading experts to devise an alternative.

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According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average regular pay went up by 4.7% over the last three months.

This may sound like a lot, but it is dwarfed by the percentage that inflation increased by - 10.1%. It is expected to reach 11% by the end of 2022, broadening the gap even further.

Therefore, to help out those in need, several employers have signed up for the Real Living Wage scheme. But what is the Real Living Wage scheme, exactly?

What is the Real Living Wage scheme?

The Real Living Wage scheme has been set up by the Living Wage Foundation, in an effort to help those in lower pay brackets to receive a fairer wage.

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It is completely voluntary - any employers on this scheme have decided to sign up themselves. The Living Wage Foundation has no affiliation with the UK Government and is an independent movement.

The scheme is an effort to help bridge the gap between the UK minimum wage and the actual cost of living in the country.

The Living Wage Foundation claims that signing up for the scheme not only boosts workers’ morale (in turn, creating a more efficient and motivated workforce) but also helps to strengthen the relationship between employers and employees.

The Living Wage Foundation’s website says: “The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by over 10,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs - like the weekly shop, or a surprise trip to the dentist.”

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Over 300,000 employees across the country have received a pay rise as a result of the Living Wage campaign.

What is the current UK minimum wage?

From April 2022, the national living wage in the UK is £9.50/hr. However, this can vary dramatically, depending on your age.

For example, for people aged 21-22, the minimum wage is only £9.18/hr. For those in the age bracket of 18-20, it is a mere £6.83/hr.

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said that pledging to pay your employees a wage that lines up with the UK’s cost of living is "the right thing to do for struggling workers and families, but it’s also good for businesses, with employers benefitting from greater staff morale and productivity, and reduced staff absenteeism and turnover".

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Which employers have signed up to the scheme?

Several employers and businesses, many of whom have bases in Leeds, have pledged to pay their employees a wage that matches the current cost of living in the UK.

Santander are among them - as are Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Oxfam, Connect Housing and Northern Monk Brewing.

We’ve only scratched the surface - according to the Living Wage Foundation, by May of 2022, over 10,000 UK employers had signed up for the pledge.

In Leeds, there are currently 126 employers who are signed up for the Real Living Wage pledge, including Path Yorkshire, First Response Group and Zest.

If you’d like to take a look for yourself at all the employers in Leeds who have signed up to the pledge, you can use the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage Map.

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