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Living wage: Discount for paying fairly

Living wage: Discount for paying fairly

December 22, 2016
Julian Bell visiting Weird Beard brewery, a Living Wage employer

Businesses can benefit from a business rate discount as part of Ealing Council’s commitment to ensure local workers are better paid.

The discount is given to businesses that become accredited with the London Living Wage Foundation and agree to pay the London Living Wage as a minimum to their staff.

It is currently £9.75 an hour, which is £2.55 more than the national statutory minimum wage. It is designed to reflect the far higher living costs in the capital, especially for housing and childcare, compared to other parts of the country.

The discount is a one-off payment – equivalent to two years of Living Wage accreditation fees. The cost of being accredited varies depending on the size of workforce and the type of organisation.

The maximum discount available is £2,000 per business and it is open to employers who are already accredited, as well as employers who become accredited during the 2016/17 financial year.

Since announcing the council’s scheme last year more than 30 employers have expressed their interest in gaining accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation.

‘Anything less would feel like exploitation’

Gregg Irwin (pictured above with council leader Julian Bell) is director of brewery Weird Beard Brew Co in Hanwell, which has accreditation.

He said: “Paying our staff the London living wage is not a difficult decision. Having lived in London for 20 years I understand how expensive all aspects of life are. In the capital, anything less than the London Living Wage would feel like exploitation to me.”

‘In-work poverty a distressing reality’

Council leader Julian Bell, who recently visited Weird Beard Brew Co, said: “In-work poverty is a distressing reality for too many families in Ealing, with living costs increasing while frozen wages fail to fill the gap. We are determined to ensure people get a helping hand out of poverty and make Ealing a fairer place for our residents.

“As a major employer we have committed to pay the London Living Wage to our own employees and want others to follow suit by offering this incentive to responsible businesses that provide decent pay to their staff. It is encouraging that so many businesses have already come forward to be recognised which is not only good for local employees but good for our local economy too. “

Councillor Peter Mason, cabinet member for prosperity, skills, employment and transformation, said: “The benefits of paying employees fair pay have been proven. In addition to boosting the reputation of the business, attracting customers and prospective staff, paying a fair wage also leads to more productive employees who take less time off for sickness and show a greater commitment to their employer.

“I would encourage businesses who are interested in gaining accreditation to speak with peers in Ealing who are already Living Wage employers and find out why it makes such good business sense.”

More information

Business owners interested in finding out more should email revenues@ealing.gov.uk