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Benefits from investing in staff

Firms gain by becoming living wage employer

Tony Donnelly of WaveAs a Living Wage employer we are proud to be playing our part in marking Living Wage Week (5 to 10 November), which will be marked by events taking place up and down the country.

The real Living Wage is an hourly rate independently calculated each year by the Resolution Foundation and published by the Living Wage Foundation. The rate is based on what it is assessed is needed to cover the basic cost of living in the UK. 

The voluntary rate has just been announced as part of Living Wage Week as £9 an hour for outside London and £10.55 an hour in London for those aged 18 and over. It is currently paid by over 1,280 businesses, including ourselves.

By paying the real Living Wage we as a national water retailer are voluntarily taking a stand to ensure that our employees can earn a wage which is enough to live on, benefiting themselves and their families. That basic fairness is at the heart of what the Living Wage campaign is trying to achieve.

As well as it being the right thing to do, there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the business benefits of becoming a Living Wage employer. It is not just morally right, but it makes absolute business sense and is good for the employee, the economy and society as a whole.

By paying the Living Wage we, for example, attract and retain the best and most motivated people, whether directly employed by us or by others. We want good people and the Living Wage is an excellent way of getting and retaining them, boosting productivity and competitiveness through having a committed workforce.

This is borne out by research conducted on accredited Living Wage employers, which showed a 25 per cent fall in absenteeism, with 80 per cent of employers believing the Living Wage has enhanced the quality of the work of the of their staff. In addition 66 per cent of employers reported a significant impact on recruitment and retention within their organisation, with 70 per cent of employers feeling that the Living Wage has increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.

The Living Wage affords people the opportunity to provide for employees and their families, with low pay one of the main drivers of in-work poverty, and research has also found that the work quality of employees has increased as well as making them more willing to implement changes in working practices, adopting changes more quickly.

It is a long-term investment in our people based on our values and our belief that a team with good compensation and working conditions is in a position to provide a great experience to our customers

Our success as a national water retailer, which undertakes the Scottish Government contract to provide water billing and efficiency services to the majority of the public sector, depends on the skills, enthusiasm, ambition and dedication of our employees.

We would urge other companies and organisations take the plunge and sign up to the Living Wage, taking advantage of the tremendous benefits this brings.

 Tony Donnelly is chairman of national water retailer, Wave

This article is published under the terms of the DB Direct service

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