Over 1 million Public Sector workers earn below real Living Wage

01 March 2019


New research shows there are over 1 million workers, paid by the public purse, trapped in in-work poverty earning below the real Living Wage - currently £9 across the UK and £10.55 in London.


The new data, calculated by the Smith Institute for the Living Wage Foundation, reveals that 1.2 million public sector workers earn below the real Living Wage (not to be confused with the National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage).


According to the Living Wage Foundation, as well as broad cross-party support from voters, polling conducted by Survation found that 64.3% of people agree that workers employed on public money through government contracts should be paid the real Living Wage. The real Living Wage rate, which is independently calculated based on the real cost of living, is currently £9 across the UK and £10.55 in London.


The Foundation said that paying the real Living Wage isn’t just the right thing to do but it also makes financial sense. The data shows that if these public institutions uplifted all low paid workers to the real Living Wage, 35p in every £1 would be returned to the Treasury in the form of increased tax receipts.


The Local Government and Council and the Health Authority and NHS are shown to have the highest number of workers earning below the real Living Wage.


According to the Living Wage Foundation 75% of Living Wage employers have seen an increase in staff motivation and retention


The Living Wage Foundation offer accreditation to employers that pay the independently-calculated Living Wage rates to all staff in London and the UK, or those committed to an agreed timetable of implementation, by awarding the Living Wage Employer Mark.

 They also offer a Service Provider Recognition Scheme for third party contractors who ensure their own staff are earning the real Living Wage rates and always offer a Living Wage option when submitting tenders.


Currently there are over 4900 Living Wage employers – the CIPP being one of them. Find out more here.