Why paying a living wage matters

Blog by Vicky Scott

Why paying a living wage matters

This week is Living Wage Week. Vicky Scott, Hackney CVS’s Head of Operations, explains why paying a living wage matters.

In the voluntary and community sector (VCS) we focus on values, on fighting inequality and improving the lives of the communities that we serve. Operating in a financially sustainable way is vitally important, but a living wage is one area that we should never save on. Employing someone on less than a living wage is not just unethical, but actually works to increase the inequality that we are all working so hard to fight.

The impact of not paying a living wage has a pernicious effect on the whole team. The wage is set at a level that is based on the cost of living and is designed to ensure that employees can meet everyday needs. If you pay under that level then people are not getting enough to get by on.

There are a host of other reasons why you should pay a living wage, including increase morale for all staff (studies show that inequality is bad for everyone in an organisation*), decreased absenteeism, improved retention and reputation. There is plenty more to do to directly address inequality in the workplace, but paying a living wage is a minimum and provides a solid base on which to build. Meaningful change starts at home, with an ethical and fair sector.

Vicky Scott, Head of Operations at Hackney CVS

For more information on the Living Wage campaign, visit www.livingwage.org.uk.