Children North East has become one of the few organisations in the north east region to become an accredited Living Wage Employer.
The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually, based on the cost living in the UK, currently it is £7.45 an hour outside London.
The Living Wage campaign started in London and has been running for ten years. In that time it has lifted over 45,000 people out of poverty.
Two-thirds of poor children live in working families, their parents are in low paid jobs. Often this can be several part-time jobs at the same time. The Living Wage can make the difference so that perhaps parents only need to have two instead of three part-time jobs and can spend more time with their children. As one of our cleaners said, 'the Living Wage has given me more freedom and independence.'
We hope other north east employers will follow our example and pay the Living Wage; it would make a huge difference to the lives of children growing up in poor families. You can find out more about the Living Wage campaign here: www.livingwage.org.uk
There are also good business reasons for paying the Living Wage. For example an independent study found that more than 80% of employers believe that the Living Wage had enhanced the quality of the work of their staff, while absenteeism had fallen by approximately 25%.
66% of employers reported a significant impact on retention within their organisation and a reduction in cost of recruitment. One London Borough has claimed that because of that, paying the Living Wage has caused no additional costs.
There are wider economic benefits too. Poorer families tend to spend their money locally which puts more income into local businesses.
Children North East has been drawing attention to the impact that poverty has on the lives of poor children, paying low paid workers the Living Wage is one way in which employers can make a real difference to their lives.