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Living Wage

The Real Living Wage enables a person to have a minimum acceptable standard of living with less reliance on benefits, and is calculated annually according to the cost of living in the UK. The Real Living Wage is currently £9.30 per hour.

Living Wage Week 2019 is 11 to 18 November. During the first Monday of every Living Wage Week, the new Real Living Wage rates for London and the UK are announced. Real Living Wage employers have till May to implement to new rates.

To mark Living Wage Week 2019, Cambridge City Council is holding the event ‘How can your business help people living in poverty in Cambridge?’ on 13 November, 5 to 7.30pm at Queen’s College. For further details and to book a place go to our Eventbrite page.

The Real Living Wage rate applied to everyone over age 18, and is £9.30 for the UK and £10.75 in London. By comparison, the national living wage is calculated as a percentage of median income so is not as generous, and does not reflect living costs. For over 25 year-olds the national living wage rate is £8.21.

Cambridge City Council pays the Real Living Wage to all directly employed staff, as well as to agency workers. We also commit to paying the Real Living Wage to all contracted staff engaged through our procurement processes. In November 2014 the city council received official accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.

We are now working to encourage and support other businesses in Cambridge to become accredited Real Living Wage employers. 

There are now around 75 accredited Real Living Wage employers in Cambridge.

Case study: Abbeyfield care provider supports the Real Living Wage.

Benefits of the Real Living Wage

We believe that the Real Living Wage is:

Good for business

  • Reduction in staff turnover and sickness rates
  • Less absenteeism
  • Improved staff morale and productivity
  • Better retention of staff
  • Recruitment of committed staff
  • Reputation as an ethical employer

Good for the worker

  • Workers are able to provide properly for themselves and their family
  • They are less reliant on benefits
  • They don’t have to work excessive hours
  • They have more time for their family

Good for Cambridge

  • More money is spent locally
  • Cambridge has a high-quality, better paid workforce

Get help with becoming a Real Living Wage employer

Are you based in Cambridge? Are you interested in becoming a Real Living Wage employer?

Our Equality and Anti-poverty Officer can:

  • answer your general queries about the Real Living Wage
  • identify particular benefits accreditation might have for your business
  • support you in applying for accreditation
  • help you to work through the implications of applying the Real Living Wage to contracted and subcontracted staff

National Minimum Wage

A new National Minimum Wage rate of £8.21 per hour applies for workers aged over 25.

The government has called this a ‘national living wage’, but it is quite separate from the Real Living Wage of £9.30 per hour accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

£8.21 is the legal minimum for over 25s, but the £9.30 Real Living Wage is calculated according to the cost of living – what people need for an acceptable, basic standard of living. It’s a rate that employers choose to pay voluntarily to go beyond the statutory minimum.

Guidance for employees

Do you have questions on how your change in income will impact on your benefits? Do you want support in budgeting?  Do you have problems with your pay? If you would like help with any of these questions, contact Cambridge and District Citizens Advice Bureau. Phone 03448 487979 between 2 and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Real Living Wage employers in Cambridge

Around 75 organisations who are based or operate in Cambridge are now accredited Real Living wage employers.

You can see all accredited employers in Cambridge on the Living Wage Foundation’s employer map.