Heathrow Airport has been accredited as a living wage employer by The Living Wage Foundation, becoming the first airport to pay the voluntary living wage at its new increased rates.
The airport has committed to paying its 3,200 permanent employees, as well as any third-party contractors, at least the voluntary living wage rate of £10.20 an hour for its London-based staff and £8.75 an hour for employees working at its Glasgow support centre by the end of 2020.
The living wage is an independently set hourly rate of pay that is calculated according to the basic costs of living. Employers pay the living wage on a voluntary basis, and the rate is updated annually. The living wage is currently set at £8.75 an hour for employees working across the UK, and at £10.20 an hour for staff based in London. The higher London living wage reflects the increased living costs associated with residing in the capital.
In addition to paying employees the living wage, Heathrow Airport will also phase out zero hours contracts and encourage other businesses based at the airport to pay the voluntary living wage to staff. Heathrow Airport will also require all new organisations bidding for commercial and supply chain contracts to disclose if it is living wage accredited as part of the tender process, and the airport will use London living wage accreditation as a factor in determining which new retailers are allocated concessions.
The voluntary living wage is distinct from the statutory national living wage, which is paid to employees aged 25 and over. The national living wage rate is currently set at £7.50 an hour.
Heathrow Airport’s accreditation starts Living Wage Week, which is running between 5 and 11 November 2017 across the UK.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive officer at Heathrow Airport, said: “Heathrow’s status as a world-class airport is down to the quality and expertise of our [employees]. We firmly believe that paying the living wage is the right thing to do as a responsible employer. It will help us to attract and retain the best people, supporting them in building a rewarding career at Heathrow.
“We are proud to be accredited by The Living Wage Foundation and are committed to going further to support responsible employment practices throughout our supply chain. This accreditation is another step in delivering our ambitious sustainability strategy, Heathrow 2.0, and a significant milestone for realising our vision for Heathrow to be a great place to live and work.”