The Living Wage Commission has set a target for the UK government to bring an additional one million workers up to a living wage by 2020, according to its final report.
Work that pays: the final report of the Living Wage Commission sets out a target for the UK and devolved governments to sign up to, in order to achieve a significant increase in coverage of the living wage.
To meet this target, the commission has set out a roadmap of recommendations, including that:
- The UK government should make it an explicit goal to increase take up of the voluntary living wage to benefit at least one million more employees by 2020.
- The UK and devolved governments should ensure that all directly employed public sector employees are paid the living wage.
- Central and local government should support the living wage by championing it to employers across the UK.
- The Living Wage Foundation should oversee the production of a toolkit for employers to measure both the costs and benefits or increasing wages for the lowest paid workers.
- Accredited employers should proudly display the living wage kitemark in order to build consumer awareness of the living wage.
- The Living Wage Foundation should oversee the development of an online tool to allow consumers to identify which goods and services are from living wage providers.
- All publicly-listed companies should publish the number of people paid below a living wage in their organisation, and the UK government should legislate if they fail to do so.
The report also found:
- There are currently 712 employers accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.
- 45,500 low-paid employees have been brought up to a living wage by accredited employers.
- 61% of employers pay a living wage to all directly employed staff.
- 5.2 million UK employees remain below the living wage.
Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York and chair of the Living Wage Commission, said: “Over the past year, the Living Wage Commission has brought leading figures from business, trades unions, civil society and academia together to hear from employers, low-paid employees, campaigners and experts about how we can tackle low pay.
“With this final report, we set out how government and responsible employers can face up to the challenging times we live in by creating a step change in poverty pay.
“The timing for a step change is right. The nascent economic recovery provides the Living Wage campaign with the perfect opportunity to push on and benefit more low-paid employees than ever before.
“As we emerge from the recession, the warning the commission set out in its interim report (Working for poverty, February 2014) of the need for a fair recovery has been echoed by other leading figures.
“John Cridland, director-general of Confederation of British Industry, has said, ‘In 2014 we need balanced growth that benefits everyone,’ and Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, talks of ‘a prize [that] is a strong, sustained and balanced expansion’.
“he British Chambers of Commerce have said that business confidence is now at historically high levels. What better time could there be for a significant increase in coverage of the living wage? We need to seize this opportunity.”