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The Voluntary ‘Real Living Wage’ In The UK

A real living wage is the smallest sum of money necessary for a worker to fulfil their daily needs. A livable wage is regarded as compensation that permits a worker to maintain a basic but acceptable standard of life without the need for state support. Because the phrase “needs” is so ambiguous, there is no globally agreed definition of a real living wage. Hence it varies by geography and family structure. Nearly 9,000 UK firms have voluntarily paid the genuine real living Pay, which is based on the cost of living and believes that we all need a wage that satisfies our basic requirements. The present rate in the UK is £9.90. It is determined by The Resolution Foundation each November based on examining the pay that workers must earn to finance the array of products required for an acceptable quality of living. Homes, childcare, transportation, and heating costs are all included in this basket of commodities.

Wage Rise

The UK Living Wage initiative has on numerous occasions been advocating for a wage rise. It has been fighting for the “Real Living Wage” for the past two decades, and it just celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2021. This particular wage has been an autonomously premeditated hourly aspect of renumeration that the initiative claims better represents the actual price of living than established regulatory minimal wage percentages. That is a with a completely distinct statistic for London to reflect appropriately the increased aspect of living within the city (Carson, 2020). Whilst the foundation and effectiveness of the wage movement in the past twenty years has focused solely on the necessity of wage increases, it has been evident since 2001 that a simple attention on hourly pay is insufficient to eradicate poverty effectively.


A Real Living Wage Boosts Employee Morale

It is without a possible doubt that incorporating a real living wage in any given organisation across the country will result in improved morale of employees. If a corporation really can pay that worker enough to satisfy their basic needs, they may focus on production, personal development, and educational possibilities to continually improve their level of living (Hirsch, 2018, p.370). Although the higher wages are a cost to the company, they are countered by higher production levels from each employee.

Poverty Rates Fall

The incorporation of the real living wage component in organisations can result in the reduction of poverty. According to the Parliamentary Budgeting Office, a $15 per hour real living wage requirement could lift approximately 1 million families from absolute poverty. Just about all workers will see an increase in their pay as real income rises. When considering this essential issue, there are no drawbacks to address just a sure and comprehensive diminishing of the country’s already established poverty threshold for the overall good of the involved citizenry.


Small Businesses Disadvantaged by Real Living Wage Regulations

The inception of the real living wage regulations will in numerous ways disadvantage the small business establishments across the nation. While a real living wage law may give financial benefits to its employees, it is also an unfunded demand that enterprises must satisfy to comply with municipal regulations. As a result, small enterprises and individual workers will bear the brunt of the financial strain. When the last modification in the minimum wage took effect in the British economy, rising costs in each jurisdiction were over $4 million higher. The only way to solve this problem without laying off people is for consumers to pay more for goods and services.

Job Outsourcing Increase

The incorporation of the real living wage in most of the corporations within the United Kingdom will result in the solid reality of job outsourcing. In concept, paying employees more seems like a great idea, but real living wage legislations regularly result in job offshoring. Because of this disadvantage, China, Bangladesh, and Thailand account for most apparel imports. When a country’s culture does not have highly wealthy standards, hiring somebody from another nation to work with that organization can help that company pay less while still getting a fair result. Because of changes in the global marketplace over the last decade, outsourcing can now be done from home. Even if a corporation pays an independent contractor a full-time income, Uk law does not require that employees in that employment structure obtain benefits.

Advocation of The Real Living Wage

In advancement of this wage, the administration of the United Kingdom had to embark on non-parliamentary measures with the sole utmost purpose of advocating for the real living wage.This administrations were initial supporters of this particular wage, extending the norm across the workers as well as contractors in the initial periods of the accreditation process. Y Senedd Cymru and the Scottish Parliament had been the initial supporters of the real living wage. The application of this wage by this administration is a subsequent outward manifestation of such a devotion (Heery et al., 2020). Public bodies have a long history of behaving in such a way, incorporating prevalent standards of good hiring endeavours, partially to facilitate a framework for organisations elsewhere. The regional governments have taken on additional tasks to advance the real living wage and function as employers. They have attempted to use their economic clout as buyers and financiers to get businesses to embrace the norm.

Hindrances of The Soft Regulations of The Real Living Wage

The varied achievements closely associated with the real living wage in the UK from its implementation in London about one and half decade ago have been examined and approved by numerous scholars. The research suggests that increases in hourly compensation have been substantial, with no impact on jobs. As a result, a sufficient real living wage is a vital component of curtailing labour market disparity and eliminating in-work poverty. In excluding both a concerted effort for ubiquitous adoption and interconnections with efficient collective bargaining, a real living wage is not an effective component, as the UK situation indicates (Johnson et al., 2019, p.325). The low number of low-wage employees protected by a voluntary real living wage is due to a lack of coherence. Because of the weak ties with collective bargaining, even when a low-wage company implements a real living wage, subsequent efficient wage rippling effects are uncommon. While businesses frequently use voluntary certification with the living wage foundation as a hallmark of ‘corporate morals,’ this wage still is an effective solitary wage-setting mechanism in the UK, according to the argument presented here (Living Wage Foundation, 2021).

Premier League’s Failure to Pay the Real Living Wage

The Premier League division of English football which leads the commercial league has failed in the payment of the real living wage. Numerous Premier League establishments share over £10 billion gratitude to the world’s most significant television agreement. However, inside clubs, this money explosion is not being allocated equally. Personnel at the extreme side of the Premier League’s labour market earn significantly less than players and managers. Numerous people are afflicted by poverty at employment. Certainly, Everton and Chelsea are the only Premier League teams comprehensively approved by the living wage foundation to pay a proper real living wage to all lower-paid employees and independent contractors and agency workers. That is a more excellent pay than the federally enforceable national real living wage. It is centred on what workers require to live, reflecting actual increases in living expenses. It costs £9.75 per hour in London and £8.45 internationally (Dobbins and Prowse, 2017). Three other clubs in England and Scotland’s football leagues are also affiliated with the Living Wage Foundation: Luton Town, Derby County, and Hearts. Numerous club employees, including janitors, nutritionists, attendants, and other tournament day workers, are hired through agencies or subcontractors and are not granted a livable wage. In 2015, The Independent newspaper posed a straightforward question to 20 Premier League clubs: Does your team pay full-time employees a real living wage? Does it pay a real living wage to part-time and contract workers, or is it dedicated to doing so? Seven clubs apparently didn’t respond or said “no remark.”

Calculation of The Real Living Wage in the UK

The calculation of the real living wage rates for 2020-21, which begin on November 9, 2020, are £9.50 in the UK and £10.85 in London. In London and across the UK, the RLW rates will increase by 10p and 20p, respectively, in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20 (Cominetti, 2020). Causes to those rises are broad and diverse. Variations in the RLW rates this year, as in previous years, are due to various factors, including shifting pricing of products and services, as well as adjustments in the tax and benefit systems, which impact the link between pay and income, and changes in the labour market.

While most businesses adhere to the UK’s minimum wage regulations, some nevertheless try to pay less than the legal minimum wage, in violation of UK labour rules. In July 2018, the government announced that 239 firms have declined to pay the UK minimum wage. If a company does not respect UK minimum wage standards, the government’s labour and tax agency (HMRC) can punish them and, if required, prosecute them in court on the workers account.


Carson, C. (2020). In-work poverty and decent working standards in the UK: why a focus on wage rises is no longer enough. Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC). The University of Leeds.

Cominetti, N. (2020) Calculating the Real Living Wage for London and the Rest of the UK 2020-2021. The Resolution Foundation Briefing. Resolution Foundation: London.

D’Arcy, C., & Finch, D. (2019). The calculation of a living wage: the UK’s experience. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research25(3), 301-317.

Dobbins, T. and Prowse, P. (2017), ‘How football’s richest clubs fail to pay staff a Real Living Wage’. The Conversation.

Dobbins, T. and Prowse, T. (2021). The Living Wage: Advancing a Global Movement. Routledge.

Heery, E., Hann, D., and Nash, D. (2020). ‘Political devolution and employment relations in Great Britain: the case of the Living Wage’, Industrial Relations Journal DOI: 10.1111/irj.12306.

Hirsch, D. (2018). The ‘living wage and low income: Can adequate pay contribute to adequate family living standards? Critical Social Policy, 38(2), 367-386.

Johnson, M., Koukiadaki, A., and Grimshaw, D. (2019). ‘The Living Wage in the UK: testing the limits of soft regulation?’ Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 25(3): 319-333.

Living Wage Foundation (2021).


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