Living Wage week is approaching quickly and the CES, as an active participant in the Living Wage initiative, are eager to support it. We have been working recently alongside various organisations to help promote and implement the Living Wage resolution in dioceses and schools. The Living Wage week, which will begin on 4th November 2013, is aimed at promoting the concept of the Living Wage and celebrating the achievements of the initiative so far. In the lead up to 4th November we have produced a range of resources containing information for schools on how the Living Wage may affect them and also how to become accredited. So what exactly is the Living Wage?
As we all know employers must pay workers at least the national minimum wage, in order to ensure fair and just payment for their labour. Unfortunately however, we are seeing living costs rise year upon year and it is becoming increasingly difficult for people on the lower end of the pay scale to survive on the national minimum wage. This is where the Living Wage comes in...
The Living wage rate has been calculated by independent authorities and reflects an amount which is considered to be necessary to cover the costs of basic everyday living. There are two Living Wage rates; the current Living wage rate outside of London is £7.45 per hour, while the London rate is slightly higher at £8.55 per hour. This is due to living costs in London being higher than other parts of the country. These rates are adjusted annually to make sure that they remain in line with living costs, and so these rates will change in November, with the new rates being announced during Living Wage week.
Why are The CES supporting Living Wage Week?
In November 2012 the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales endorsed the Living Wage and passed a resolution encouraging its organisations to work towards its implementation. As a result, there are now many Catholic organisations taking an active interest in the Living Wage initiative.
The Church has a mission to the poor and a commitment to combating poverty. In the current economic climate wages are simply not stretching far enough and as a result of this 60% of the children deemed to be living in poverty in Britain today are growing up in working households. The Church wants to strive to ensure that work will always provide a way out of poverty. Therefore, we at the CES believe that paying the Living Wage is a practical step that we can take to support the Church's mission to the poor; putting our Catholic Faith into action.
Citizens UK, who are a founding member of The Living Wage Foundation, have stated that over the past decade 45,000 families have been lifted out of working poverty as a direct result of the Living Wage. This shows just how much of a positive impact implementing the Living Wage can have and for this reason, we are encouraging Catholic schools and colleges to consider taking steps towards becoming accredited Living Wage employers.