A fair day’s pay: Colchester Council considers new Living Wage rate

Colchester Borough Council became officially recognised as a Living Wage employer in February 2016

Date issued: 16 November 2018

Colchester Council employees look set to benefit from a rise in the Living Wage, after the Living Wage Foundation recommended an increase on 5 November 2018.

As part of the council’s continuing commitment to be a good employer, Cabinet members will discuss raising the Living Wage rate from £8.75 to £9.00 for all staff aged 18 or older, when they meet on 21 November.

The new £9.00 Living Wage rate is significantly higher than the statutory National Living Wage introduced by the Government in April 2016 for workers who are 25 years or over (currently £7.83) or the National Minimum Wage (£7.38 if 21-24; £5.90 if 18-20, or £4.20 if under 18). Full-time council employees currently earning £8.75 an hour could expect to see their annual salary increase by £482, under the new rate.

The Living Wage is set independently by the Living Wage Foundation and calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK.

Colchester Borough Council became officially recognised as a Living Wage employer in February 2016 for its work to tackle income inequality and support for workers struggling on low pay. Since then, it has continued to pay the Living Wage as a minimum standard for all employees and stipulates that the same rate applies to all new third-party contracts too.

An ongoing, phased roll-out of the Living Wage means any third-party contracted staff who qualify will also receive the new amount as contracts come up for renewal. This includes renewal of the current cleaning contracts into one new cleaning contract comprising all office, communal areas and sheltered schemes, from March 2019, which will improve the pay for approximately 16 third-party contracted cleaning staff.

Councillor Mark Cory, Leader of the Council, said: “I am enormously proud that Colchester Borough Council was one of the first local authorities in the country to be accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

“By paying the Living Wage to our employees and requiring our contractors to do the same, we are setting an example to other employers and improving pay conditions across the whole borough. As a result, ordinary people are getting better pay and a better deal.”

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