This week, on Thursday 22nd September, the Living Wage Foundation announced an increase in the real living wage. The real living wage is now £11.95 in London.
The House of St Barnabas is a proud living wage employer, everyone who works here earns London Living Wage or above and we welcome today’s increase. We recognise the importance of paying our staff a fair wage so they know that they can pay their rent and bills without relying on tips. For me, one of the most exciting things about our model is that it gives us an opportunity to show that good work in hospitality is possible and use our voice to talk to other employers about making this the norm.
As a business, we know that by paying the real living wage we attract excellent staff who want to stay and grow with us. Our colleagues create a great club member experience, but vitally, create a fun and welcoming training environment for people on our employment programme. This environment is crucial to the success of our employment programme.
The real Living Wage is based on the cost of living and what is needed for a dignified life, it’s higher than the legal minimum wage. It considers things like the weekly food shop and household bills, but also essentials such as dentist trip or a new school uniform. Over 350,000 workers across the UK will get a pay rise because of the commitment of over 11,000 Living Wage employers who voluntarily pay all their staff the real Living Wage.
Although the cost-of-living crisis affects everyone, it is the lowest paid who will be most affected. It’s no secret that hospitality is traditionally a low paid sector, with many staff relying on service charges and tips to make ends meet. But hospitality is also one of the country’s biggest employers, employing millions of people – it can be a fantastic way back into the workplace for people who have experienced homelessness.
We know that good quality, paid work alongside affordable accommodation is a route out of homelessness. By good work, we mean jobs which pay a fair living wage, have stable contracted hours, opportunities for progression and a focus on the whole person. Without this, working people remain in precarious situations that can lead back to homelessness, and that’s without a cost-of-living crisis. We see first-hand through our Employment Academy graduates that going into Living Wage jobs removes a major barrier to escaping homelessness.
Blossom is a graduate of our employment preparation programme and now works as a Commis Chef in our kitchen. She tells us: “Being paid the Living Wage means that I can top up the gas and electric every month, which I used to have trouble with. And if I run out of food, I still have some change left for that. This makes a big difference.”
The real living wage is a lifeline and it’s important for the House of St Barnabas to lead the way in showing that it can, and should, be paid. It is an investment in our business, helping it to grow even during challenging times, and it is a practical demonstration of how much we value our workers.
For us, good work and paying the London Living Wage is essential for social impact and for running a great business. We could not do one without the other.
Read more about why Good Work matters and we should be asking for more from our restaurants here.