On Monday 6 November the new Living Wage rates will be announced for London and the UK
03/11: Living Wage Week runs from 5 – 11 November 2017. This when the new Living Wage rates are announced, with events taking place all across the ountry, and people celebrating. How did it come about?
In 2001 families came together and started a campaign to be paid a real Living Wage. Since then hundreds of thousands of families have benefited and been able to earn a wage they can live on. Living Wage Week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the impact and success of the movement so far.
A Living Wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs. In the UK this generally means that a person working 40 hours a week, with no additional income, should be able to afford the basics for quality of life, such as food, shelter, utilities, transport, health care and minimal recreation. Evidence demonstrates that living wage legislation reduces poverty.
How does this differ from Minimum Wages?
A minimum wage is the lowest remuneration that employers can legally pay their workers. It is the price floor below which workers may not sell their labour. Minimum Wages are usually lower then living wages. As one analyst has put it: “The minimum wage is a statutory minimum that all employers must pay, whereas the Living Wage is a generally higher level of income that could provide for a frugal but dignified life”.
Another commentator has said: “If an employer can pay less, they will. They will even pay nothing wherever possible. Just look at unpaid internships. And because people prefer to eat and live indoors, and anything is better than nothing, people accept wages that are too low or even zero (in combination with work experience) because it’s all better than the alternative - nothing.”
Hence the importance of fighting for – and preserving – living wage laws that improve the quality of life not only for workers, but also their families and communities.