Norfolk Business Awards 2018

Are you set for a pay rise as the real living wage increases?

PUBLISHED: 09:01 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:00 07 November 2017

Cleaner Lynne Hanner, who is paid the Living Wage by Aviva. Picture: Richard Heeley

Cleaner Lynne Hanner, who is paid the Living Wage by Aviva. Picture: Richard Heeley

© 2014 Richard Heeley / BiteTheHand Creative Ltd

Nearly 140 employers in the East of England have committed to give workers a pay rise as the voluntary living wage goes up.

However, 484,000 people in the region are still not being paid £8.45 per hour – the independently calculated minimum amount to get by based on living costs.

The voluntary living wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), is higher than the statutory national living wage – the rebranded minimum wage for over-25s – and will increase by 45p to £10.20 an hour in London and by 30p to £8.75 in the rest of the country. The national lower limit for over-25s stands at £7.50 an hour.

Among the companies to pay the rate is insurer Aviva, a member of the EDP/EADT Top 100 list of companies by highest turnover in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Aviva group property and facilities director Stuart Wright, chair of the LWF advisory council, said: “We made the commitment to pay the real living wage because it’s the right thing to do, and because it’s also good business. We want to be a great place to work – an employer of choice. By paying a fair wage we will attract and keep the best people, helping to protect the long-term success of our business. What’s more, paying the real living wage has an important impact on people’s quality of life.”

It is not only global organisations which are able to afford the wage however with Brooke-based chocolatier Booja Booja also paying the rate.

Commercial brand director Simon Wallwork said: “We are quite a small business, we only have around 50 employees, but it reflects our company values. It is reflected in our retention rate, which is very good, our ability to attract staff in a competitive area and it comes through the brand to our customers.”

Mr Wallwork added paying 
the living wage helped when 
the company received a large order and had to work over weekends.

LWF director Katherine Chapman said: “The new living wage rates will bring relief for thousands of East of England workers being squeezed by stagnant wages and rising inflation. It’s thanks to the leadership of over 3,600 employers across the UK who are committed to paying all their staff, including cleaners and security staff, a real living wage.”

The 3.6% increase outside London was driven by higher inflation, rising housing rents and transport costs.

Case study: A respectable wage

An extra 95p an hour – soon to go up to £1.25 – can be the difference between just paying the bills and being able to buy those extra items.

For Lynne Hanner, from Hellesdon, being paid the voluntary living wage by her employer Aviva has helped her save up for treats come payday and allowed her to reduce her hours.

The 62-year-old cleaner, who has been with Aviva since 1998, and her husband Raymond have raised their granddaughter Aaliyah, now 15, giving the household an extra mouth to feed.

She said: “Being paid a respectable wage means you can put a bit of money aside at the end of the month that doesn’t have to go on bills.

“I am living proof that people will stay in the same place and will work for you for longer if they are paid a fair wage.

“It has more benefits because when you feel valued you will go above and beyond for the company.”

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