Living Wages at Otesha

6th November 2012 by

Living Wage Week is here! This annual celebration and  promotion of employers who pay Living Wage runs from 4-10th November, and as a Living Wage employer Otesha is pleased to take part.

What is a living wage? Unlike the national minimum wage, a Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. A Living Wage is enough to allow people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. The Living Wage campaign was launched in 2001 by parents in East London, who were frustrated that working two minimum wage jobs left no time for family life. Over 15,000 families have been lifted out of working poverty as a direct result of the Living Wage.

What’s the financial difference? UK national minimum wage is currently £6.19. The new UK Living Wage is £7.45 – an increase of £1.26 an hour or £10.08 over an 8 hour shift. But in London, the Living Wage is now £8.55 to reflect the significantly higher costs of living in the Capital. This week the Mayor of London launched the new 25p increase in London Living wage, arguing that “It makes economic sense for us as a city”.

So what does Otesha do about it? We put our money where our mouth is! All Otesha internships are paid at London Living Wage. These year-long posts organising our cycle tours and other programmes are learning roles, in which interns are given real responsibility and decision making powers, whilst being supported and offered training to increase their professional skills. A lot of other charities only offer expenses for these sorts of roles, but the expectation that people can or should work without pay goes against what we stand for.

But sadly we can’t employ everyone so we want to spread the word amongst Otesha’s friends about the benefits of paying Living Wage for employee and employer, courtesy of our friends at the Living Wage Foundation – SPOILER: paying people a fair wage for their work is highly motivating!

  • An independent study of the business benefits of implementing a Living Wage policy in London found that more than 80% of employers believe that the Living Wage had enhanced the quality of the work of their staff, while absenteeism had fallen by approximately 25%.
  • Two thirds of employers reported a significant impact on recruitment and retention within their organisation. 70% of employers felt that the Living Wage had increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.
  • Following the adoption of the Living Wage Price Waterhouse Cooper found turnover of contractors fell from 4% to 1%.
  • 50% of employees felt that the Living Wage had made them more willing to implement changes in their working practices; enabled them to require fewer concessions to effect change; and made them more likely to adopt changes more quickly.

If you’d like to learn about how we moved over to London Living Wage and would like to do the same, get in touch!

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