Real Living Wage increases to £9.50 in Scotland

  • 45,600 workers in Scotland set to benefit from vital pay boost
  • Almost £240 million in extra wages has gone to low-paid workers in Scotland thanks to the Living Wage movement, including over £42 million since the start of lockdown. 
  • Over 34,000people in key worker industries in Scotland have benefitted from over £192 million in extra wages since 2011. [1]
  • Living Wage Foundation research finds that 350,000 (15.2%) workers in Scotland are still paid under the real Living Wage. [2] 

Over 45,600 people working for 1,892 real Living Wage Employers in Scotland are set for a vital pay boost as the new Living Wage rate rises to £9.50 across the UK (20p increase) supporting workers and families through the pandemic.  The Living Wage rates are the only rates independently calculated based on what people need to live on.

Major Living Wage Employers in Scotland include Brewdog, SSE and Standard Life Aberdeen.

Over 180 employers have become accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland since the start of the pandemic, including ENABLE Scotland who have become accredited today.

ENABLE’s Living Wage accreditation will see 1800 frontline care workers benefitting from a pay increase to the real Living Wage, meaning these key workers are free to focus on their vital work.

These organisations join a network of over 1800 Scottish employers, and nearly 7,000 employers across the UK, including two-fifths of the FTSE 100 companies, major household names and thousands of small businesses, who are choosing to pay the real Living Wage to ensure all staff earn a wage that meets the real cost of living, and covers everyday needs.

Research conducted by Cardiff Business School has demonstrated the significant impact across the UK of the Living Wage campaign since the start of the pandemic. Over 250,000 UK workers have benefitted from an additional £200 million since the start of lockdown, including 130,000 key workers. Across the UK, over £1.3bn in extra wages has gone to workers and families through the Living Wage since 2011.

The UK rate is 78p per hour more than the UK government minimum wage (for over 25s). A full-time worker in Scotland paid the new £9.50 real Living Wage will receive over £1,500 in additional wages annually compared to the current Government minimum.

The announcement comes as new research by the Living Wage Foundation has demonstrated the scale of low pay during the pandemic, with 350,000 jobs in Scotland still paying less than the real Living Wage.[3]

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said: 

“This very welcome increase to the real Living Wage will mean thousands of workers across Scotland will get a pay rise to help them meet their living costs during this really tough time.

“Ensuring staff are paid fairly shows a clear commitment to fair work practices and Scotland now has the highest proportion of real Living Wage employees anywhere in the UK.”

“The Scottish Government continues to encourage all employers, regardless of size or sector, to consider paying the real Living Wage. Not only do we see it as a crucial part of creating a fairer and more prosperous country, it also makes business sense with companies reporting more motivated and productive employees, reductions in staff turnover and stronger team performance.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said: 

“It’s a challenging time for us all, but today’s new Living Wage rates will give a boost to thousands of workers in Scotland.

There will be choices to make as we manage the virus and emerge – eventually – from this crisis about the kind of society we all want to live in. The real Living Wage is part of the solution to in-work poverty in Scotland and signals a way in which employers can take an active role in making positive change for the future.”

Announcing their Living Wage accreditation today, social care charity ENABLE Scotland’s CEO Theresa Shearer said:

“As a newly accredited Living Wage employer, ENABLE Scotland is proud to uplift the pay of more than 1,800 frontline keyworkers to ensure we reward and retain the outstanding staff who are supporting vulnerable people to stay safe and well, living the life they choose in their own home.

“The COVID-19 pandemic makes it clearer than ever that excellent self-directed social care is absolutely critical to an integrated health and care system, and our ambition to pay more than the real Living Wage for every hour worked helps ensure social care is a flexible and rewarding career choice.”

Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Scotland Interim Manager, said:  

“Since the start of the pandemic employers in Scotland have continued to sign up to a real Living Wage. During Living Wage Week, it is more important than ever to highlight those employers that have done right by workers and families, providing them with much needed security and stability even when times are hard. These are the employers that will allow us to recover and rebuild from this crisis.”

Amanda Lowe, Interim Head of Human Resources at East Ayrshire Council, said:

“We were in the final stages of becoming an accredited Living Wage employer just as lockdown was announced earlier this year. This did not deter us from carrying on the hard work and commitment needed to achieve accredited Living Wage status, something that is an important part of our vision for East Ayrshire and our local workforce. We are proud to be accredited Living Wage employers more so than ever right now.”

Sandy MacDonald, Head of Global Sustainability at Standard Life Aberdeen, and Chair of the Living Wage Scotland Leadership Group said: 

“At an incredibly challenging time for most businesses, it’s important to recognise that Living Wage employers are making a voluntary commitment to go further than the statutory minimum.

“It’s inspiring and heartening to see many organisations continue to sign up. This year, the benefit of Living Wage accreditation to low paid workers is more significant than ever, not just in terms of the initial pay increase, but in ensuring their salaries can keep pace with the cost of living over time,”

Caroline Barnes, support practitioner at Carr Gomm, who have been Living Wage accredited since 2018 said:

“Being paid the real Living Wage shows me that Carr Gomm value my work, are willing to invest in me, even in challenging economic times. It also demonstrates their commitment to workers’ rights and supporting principles of social justice.”


Notes to Editors:

Living Wage Scotland Media Contact: Lynn Anderson, 07505489483

Living Wage Week from 9-15 November 2020 is a UK-wide celebration of the almost 7,000 employers that have voluntarily committed to ensure employees and sub-contracted staff earn a real Living Wage. This includes more than two-fifths of the FTSE 100 and major household names such as Brewdog, Everton FC, Aviva, Burberry, and Nationwide.

[1] Analysis provided by Cardiff Business School. Total uplift aggregate and year on year for workers paid the real Living Wage and London Living Wage are modelled according different sectors, regional wage variations and full time and part time employees.

[2] A full report on Living Wage Foundation methodology and statistics is available on demand.

[3] These calculations are based on working for 37.5 hours a week, for 52 weeks. £9.50 x 37.5 x 52 = £18,525 for someone earning the real Living Wage and £21,157.50 for someone earning the London Living Wage of £10.85, compared to £17,004 for a full time worker, over the age of 25 (and therefore eligible for the National Living Wage), earning the government’s new National Living Wage rate of £8.72.

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