To celebrate Living Wage Week (14 to 20 November 2022), Norwich employers and employees have shared their stories, explaining why a real Living Wage matters more than ever during the cost-of-living crisis.
The real Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay calculated by the Living Wage Foundation based on what people need to live on to pay for costs including fuel, energy, rent and food. It currently stands at £10.90/hr outside London, and is paid voluntarily by employers, going beyond the national minimum rates set by Government – just £9.50/hr for anyone over the age of 23.
During Living Wage Week, Norwich’s Future Radio listeners can tune in for a full schedule of features, quizzes and interviews, and residents should look out for Living Wage messages that have been painted around the city (pictured).
Phoenix Events (East) Ltd, a security and events management company, is an accredited Living Wage Employer based in Norwich. Anna Ryan, Operations Manager at Phoenix Events (East) Ltd, explains why the business pays the Real Living Wage and the impact it has had:
We are striving to ensure that anyone who comes to work for Phoenix will always feel like their work is valued. This should be reflected not only in the way the company treats them, and the service we provide, but in their payslip at the end of the month. We see the difference it makes for our employees to see that what they do is being recognised, not by paying them the bare minimum, but a fair wage people can live on.
This extends even more so to our younger employees, who would earn considerably less under the National Minimum Wage. Many 18-year-olds have the same financial responsibilities as people well into their 20s and 30s – why should someone be paid less for doing the same job?
Jesse Manning, Cleaning Coordinator at Broadland Housing, an accredited Living Wage Employer since 2015, described how being paid a Real Living Wage has affected him:
When I started working for Broadland it was the first time I had ever been paid the Real Living Wage. With the increase in wages, I was lucky to find a social rented flat, with the Real Living Wage helping secure this tenancy, because I could now afford the rent. The stability of my having my own home gave my life a real positive boost and the chance to live independently.
At Broadland, I am part of the team that reviews and awards new contracts. I am proud that Broadland are a Living Wage Employer, and that it also requires its contractors to pay the Real Living Wage too. For me this so important. It has made such a difference to my own life, and I like to think that it will help others in the same way.
Norwich Living Wage City Action Group is a coalition of local businesses, charities and public sector organisations who are already accredited Living Wage employers. It is aiming to triple the number of employers paying the real Living Wage to 150 by 2025. There are currently 50 Real Living Wage accredited employers in Norwich, meaning 1,114 workers have already received a pay rise that meets the real Living Wage.