The new UK living wage was announced by the Living Wage Foundation this week.
It will be £9.30 across the UK and £10.75 in London. Employers registered as Living Wage employers have until May 2020 to implement the changes.
The Foundation Living Wage is distinct from the legal minimum wages which are £8.21 for workers aged 25 or over with lower rates for younger workers and apprentices.
Both Labour and the Conservatives have announced minimum wage policies ahead of the general election. The Conservative pledge is to reach a minimum wage of £10.50 by 2024 for workers aged 21 or over. Labour’s pledge is for £10 for all workers, regardless of age in 2020.
In 2018 NHS unions led by UNISON broke the Conservative government’s hated public sector pay cap with a three-year pay deal that won the living wage for over 100,000 NHS staff – the largest group of workers to ever win that in one go. The pay deals in England, Wales and Scotland gave rises of £2,000-£2,600 for the lowest paid NHS staff, which at the time took them above the Living Wage rate.
However, the new Living Wage rate means the NHS pay agreement in England and Wales falls short, as the lowest rate for Band 1 and 2 will be £9.21 from April 2020. The lowest rate in Scotland will be £9.45. Staff in Northern Ireland are still fighting for the full pay deal.
Work is underway to prepare for when the current deals end in 2021. Going into the next pay round measures to continue bearing down on low pay and ensure that the NHS exceeds the Living Wage will be a high priority for us.
Branches that cover employers with individual Living Wage commitments should begin conversations regarding implementation of the new rates.