The Real Living Wage: tackling in-work poverty

At least one in 10 workers live in poverty, so we think there is a good case for employers, where they are able, to pay the Real Living Wage.

What is the Real Living Wage?

The Real Living Wage is different from the Minimum and National Living Wages, and is an independently-calculated hourly rate of pay based on the actual cost of living.

Announced in October 2023, the Real Living Wage rate is £12 per hour across the UK for all workers aged 18 or over. It also includes a London weighting, reflecting the higher cost of living in the capital, set at £13.15 per hour. Employers have until 1st May 2024 to implement the new rate of pay.

The previous rate, announced in September 2022, was £10.90 across the UK, and £11.95 in London.

Set by the Living Wage Foundation, the Real Living Wage is not compulsory in law, but is currently voluntarily paid by more than 14,000 UK businesses.

Buckinghamshire Business First is proud to be a Living Wage Employer, accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, meaning every member of our staff earns a Real Living Wage.

How is it calculated?

The rates are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK.

Calculations are based on a basket of household goods and services. The basket of goods draws on the Minimum Income Standard to identify everyday living costs through public consensus. 

See how the Real Living Wage is calculated >

Why pay a Real Living Wage?

  • Reap the business benefits
  • Support your staff and their families
  • Help tackle in-work poverty

Reap the business benefits

In surveys of employers who pay the Real Living Wage:

  • 93% reported having benefited from their accreditation
  • 86% say it improved their reputation
  • 62% say it improved relations between managers and staff
  • 60% say it improved recruitment of employees into their business

Further research has found that:

  • 93% of university students want to work for Real Living Wage accredited employers
  • 90% of consumers were more likely to buy a product or service from an employer that paid the Real Living Wage
  • 85% of investors state that investment in employees is an important factor in their decision-making. 62% say this is specifically the case for Real Living Wage employer accreditation.

Read more about the benefits to businesses of paying the Real Living Wage.

Support your staff and their families

It goes without saying that a better wage is going to have a positive impact on people, but here are some quotes from workers receiving a Real Living Wage that really drive the point home:

  • "Coming to somewhere where I’m paid a decent wage and feel appreciated makes me work 110% harder.” - Retail worker
  • "I feel like I am breaking the cycle and creating opportunities for my children to reach their potential. All because of a fair wage." - Driver
  • "Being on a Living Wage means that I don't have to live from one month to the next having the fear of not being able to pay the bills." - Retail worker
  • "I eat better, I sleep better and I am much less stressed." - Care worker
  • "It's the difference between existing and having a life... previously I was working but couldn't afford heating in my flat." - Cleaner
  • "Earning the Living Wage means I can spend more time with my daughter doing the things together we enjoy. I can be the dad I want to be." - Cleaner

Read more about the benefits of a Real Living Wage to your staff.

Help tackle in-work poverty

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that, even before the pandemic, in-work poverty rates were rising, and that:

  • around two-thirds (68%) of working-age adults in poverty live in a household where at least one adult is in work
  • in 2019/20, 13% of workers lived in poverty, compared to 11% in 2005/06
  • in 2019/20, 22% of part-time workers were living in poverty, compared to 17% in 2005/06, compared with 22% in 2019/20

Read more research from the Living Wage Foundation that underpins their work on the Real Living Wage.

Want to learn more about becoming a Real Living Wage employer?

Read more about the Real Living Wage and how to become an accredited Real Living Wage employer.

Business community ambassadors