The Real Living Wage: how it can help your business



The Real Living Wage is an independently set hourly rate of pay, which is calculated according to the basic cost of living.

Employers do not have to pay the Real Living Wage, but there are many reasons why doing so can benefit your business.

Currently the Real Living Wage is £9 an hour (across the UK). The rate for London is higher to reflect the increased costs of living in the capital. The London Real Living Wage rate is £10.55 an hour.

The rate is updated annually.

How your business can benefit

Research collected by the Living Wage Foundation shows there are numerous business and economic benefits from becoming accredited as a living wage employer.

These include an improved business reputation (86 per cent) and increased staff retention and motivation (75 per cent).

We have been paying council staff the London Real Living Wage since 2011.

Help reduce ‘in-work poverty’

Despite low unemployment rates, there are significant numbers of residents affected by ‘in-work poverty’. This is when a person is working, but still doesn’t have enough money to pay for their basic needs. In 2018, 40 per cent of jobs (18,000) in Waltham Forest paid below the London Real Living Wage. This made Waltham Forest the fourth highest London borough with residents in low paid employment.

In response we are working with local community groups, Citizens UK and Living Wage UK to help reduce in-work poverty.

We believe paying living wage is the right thing to do, evidence has shown that it has a direct impact on improving life chances for our residents and has a direct return for businesses both short and long term. The Living Wage Employer Experience Report advises that:

  • 86 per cent of businesses reported that Living Wage accreditation had ‘enhanced their organisation’s general reputation as an employer’
  • 64 per cent of businesses reported that Living Wage accreditation had ‘differentiated their organisation from others in the same industry
  • 45 per cent of businesses reported improved recruitment of employees into Real Living Wage jobs

Since securing our employer mark, we now have 19 accredited businesses within the borough. Our ambition is that we are able to influence more local businesses to become adopters and that residents can afford a decent quality of life.

The Living Wage Foundation launched in 2011. The foundation offers accreditation to employers who voluntarily pay the Real Living Wage to their employees.

Employers are awarded a Living Wage Employer Mark if they:

  • pay staff the living wage
  • influence other employers they deal with

We gained accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation in July 2017.

We encourage businesses to seriously consider how the Real Living Wage can benefit your business and the wider community.

For more information, visit the Living Wage Foundation website.

We believe employers paying the London Real Living Wage are helping to improve the life chances of their employees while also demonstrating good working practice.

Paying the Real Living Wage is a positive step towards our ambitions to:

  • create of a Real Living Wage Zone in the Walthamstow Village
  • double the number of Living Wage employers in the borough
  • lead and encourage local businesses - with the support of Citizens UK and Living Wage UK
  • demonstrate principles of good work

For more information, contact our Business Growth, Investment and Employment team at: