Living wage is good for ethics - and for business

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​Paying staff the living wage has benefits all round, say leading social enterprises

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20th July 2015 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Scotland’s social enterprises are being encouraged to sign up to the pledge to pay their employees the living wage.

Already, several major players in the sector have said they will pay staff the wage – and many more are set to join them.

The living wage is an hourly rate of income (currently set at £7.85 for the UK outside of London) which is defined as the amount of money needed to enjoy a basic, but socially acceptable standard of living.

In Scotland it is administered by the Poverty Alliance on behalf of the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative.

David Faith, the alliances living wage accreditation officer, urged social enterprises to get in touch and talk to him and his team about the issue, stressing that it makes as much business as ethical sense.

The living wage improves morale, productivity and the ability to recruit fresh talent whilst at the same time reducing absenteeism and staff turnover

He said: “We hope social enterprises in Scotland will see the living wage employer movement as a natural ally.

“Indeed, there are a growing number of social enterprises in Scotland who have already become accredited as living wage employers.

“These organisations represent a varied range of sectors including food and drink, hospitality, advisory services and security.

“In fact there are only really two things they all have in common; their commitment to the living wage and their commitment to the community.

“Research has shown that the living wage improves morale, productivity and the ability to recruit fresh talent whilst at the same time reducing absenteeism and staff turnover.”

Chris Thewlis is operations director at GTS Solutions, an ethical secruity business that was profiled in TFN last week

His company is a proud living wage employer. He said: “Our aim at GTS is to legitimise the security industry and invest our profits back into the community. That’s why we’re a social enterprise in the first place, but getting the badge as an accredited living wage employer has also massively helped us with those goals as it shows everyone we’re committed to our staff and also to the community."

Jill Sales, chair of community baking company Breadshare, said: “From its start of trading in 2012, Breadshare has been keen to contribute to greater social cohesion through community involvement, commitment, support and investment.

“Over the years we have received a great deal of help from many individuals and the decision to become a living wage employer was not a difficult one. Apart from the moral arguments, it was a way of showing our appreciation to the community who supports us. The direct impact on the business is difficult to quantify but we have received lots of positive comments, from both staff and customers.”

To find out more about living wage accreditation, call 0141 353 0440 or go to the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative website.

All summer, TFN is celebrating the work done by social enterprises. Check out our #SocEntSummer content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.