B Corp business Rowlinson Knitwear is urging more UK businesses to step up and pay the real Living Wage. The company is highlighting the importance of employers acting now to ‘do the right thing’ during Living Wage Week (9 -15 November 2020), which is when the movement is celebrated and the new Living Wage rates are announced.
“The pandemic is having an unparalleled impact on people’s lives, particularly those in traditionally lower paid jobs,” says Donald Moore, Chair of the Stockport-based schoolwear manufacturer, Rowlinson Knitwear. “Organisations in the position to do so must play their part by becoming accredited Living Wage employers, so people can meet their everyday needs. It’s only fair to pay a wage that reflects the true cost of living, particularly during a year of unparalleled financial upheaval.”
Moore asserts that becoming a Living Wage employer needs to become part of businesses’ strategies of ‘building back better’, but is concerned that some UK employers are exploiting the current high unemployment rate to keep wages low. He says, “While many aspects of our lives have changed this year, the business case for paying the real Living Wage hasn’t. It’s not only the right thing to do, but there is clear evidence that Living Wage employers benefit from higher productivity, better employee engagement and lower employee turnover. Sadly, some organisations are taking advantage of the fall-out from the pandemic by purposefully keeping wages at the Government minimum wage level.”
Rowlinson, a Living Wage employer since 2018 and the highest scoring B Corp in the North of England and Scotland, has experienced first-hand the positive impacts of paying the real Living Wage, with colleagues less stressed about their finances and more able to pay their bills each month. One Rowlinson colleague has seen a dramatic change to her living conditions. She explains: “Being on the real Living Wage means I have been able to save each month to afford a better home for myself and my family. I have been able to move from my one bedroom flat where I lived with my 2½ year old daughter and husband, to a much better home.”
Moore adds, “It’s time for businesses to step-up. With the pandemic creating financial pressures like never before, it’s the role of businesses to pay a fair wage that makes a real difference to their employees’ lives.”
The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by over 6,500 UK businesses that believe their staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs. As well as improving the living conditions of their employees, Living Wage employers are also more likely to benefit from an enhanced reputation, improved recruitment, higher staff retention rates and a competitive edge.*
* The Living Wage Employer Experience, Cardiff Business School (April 2017)