York Council 7.11.23

York celebrates Living Wage Week 2023

During Living Wage Week (6-11 November), City of York Council is celebrating the number of York businesses that pay staff the Real Living Wage, which is among the highest in the region.

The council has encouraged all businesses to consider this step as a means of boosting employee morale and productivity, fighting the cost-of-living crisis, and attracting new staff.

The proportion of York’s businesses which pay employees a Real Living Wage is significantly higher than that of other cities in the Yorkshire and Humber region, with 150 Good Business Charter and Real Living Wage Employer organisations already doing so.

The council has been a Living Wage employer since 2013, and in 2021, joined a movement of organisations in York when it signed up to the Good Business Charter, which requires accredited organisations to pay the Living Wage, as part of a series of ten commitments.

According to the Living Wage Foundation, 94% of living wage businesses, from SMEs to FTSE 100 firms, reported seeing clear benefits to their business since they started to pay the Real Living Wage, with 62% saying that they had seen improvements in the quality of applications for jobs. Additionally, 90% of consumers were more likely to buy a product or service from a business that paid staff the Real Living Wage.

Cllr Claire Douglas, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“This Living Wage Week, I’d like to congratulate and thank York businesses and organisations of all sizes paying staff the Real Living Wage, as well as those currently working towards this goal.

“It’s fantastic to see that York has a higher proportion of Living Wage employers when compared to other parts of the region and we hope more can join this movement.

“We know that businesses, like all of us, are feeling the pain of the cost-of-living crisis. Paying the Real Living Wage is good for businesses and employees – increasingly, people want to work for, buy from, and invest in socially responsible businesses.

“At City of York Council, we’re proud to have been a Living Wage employer for over a decade. We want our economy to be fairer and more inclusive, and our city to be a more affordable place for residents to live and work. The Real Living Wage is one of the ways we hope to achieve this.”

Sue Williamson, founder of Tang Hall SMART CIC, a community music and arts company, said that embracing the real living wage had brought significant benefits for her organisation:

“The real living wage has provided our staff with the security that they can work in a community arts and cultural organisation and still attain a reasonable standard of living.

“The extra cost of paying the real living wage has been more than paid off in the increase in staff wellbeing and loyalty.”

Jenny Herrera, CEO of the Good Business Charter, said:

“The real living wage ensures everyone has a decent wage they can actually live on.

“Organisations that commit to this rate champion that and, as research by the Living Wage Foundation shows, have the benefit of attracting and retaining the best employees which will reduce their recruitment and training costs.

“The employees will also be happier because they are less squeezed financially and are likely to be both more loyal and more productive in the workplace as a result, with all the benefits that then brings to the employer.”

To find out more about becoming a living wage employer, visit the Living Wage Foundation’s website.

All Good Business Charter accredited organisations are real living wage employers. You can find a list of York’s GBC organisations here, as well as a list of other living wage employers in the city here.