ELM Group: Ahead of the Curve
28 Jan 2016
Fiona Baxter joined ELM Group as HR Manager in March 2015 and has over 10 years’ experience in HRM, with a particular interest in Employee Engagement and its direct impact on Company Performance. She says: “one of the main reasons I wanted to join ELM is that despite the Not for Profit status, there is already so much investment made in the staff, not just in terms of their pay, but also the personal development that is available to all. It is very exciting to join an organisation who is ahead of the curve when it comes to investing in staff in this way.”
The Living Wage being introduced by the Government in April, is already a feature of ELM’s people strategy.
The National Living Wage
The concept of a Living Wage has roots in various cultural, religious and philosophical traditions.
The modern UK Living Wage Campaign was launched by members of London Citizens in 2001. The founders were parents in the East End of London, who wanted to remain in work, but found that despite working two or more minimum wage jobs they were struggling to make ends meet and were left with no time for family and community life.
The Living Wage is an example of communities, business, campaigners and faith groups coming together to find practical, non-statutory means to address working poverty and strengthen families.
In 2005, following a series of successful Living Wage campaigns and growing interest from employers, the Greater London Authority established the Living Wage Unit to calculate the London Living Wage.
In 2008 Trust for London selected the London Living Wage as a special initiative and made a grant of over £1 million to deliver direct campaign work, research and an accreditation scheme for employers.
The Living Wage campaign has since grown into a national movement. Local campaigns began emerging across the UK offering the opportunity to involve many more employers and lift many more thousands of families out of working poverty.
The Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation began calculating a UK wide Minimum Income Standard (MIS) figure. The MIS is an average across the whole of the UK, but does not reflect the variation in the cost of living inside and outside of London.
In 2011 Citizens UK brought together grass roots campaigners and leading employers from across the UK, working closely with colleagues on the Scottish Living Wage Campaign in particular, to agree a standard model, calculated by the CRSP, for setting the UK Living Wage outside of London.
At the same time, following consultation with campaigners, trade unions, employers who support the Living Wage and HR specialists, Citizens UK launched the Living Wage Foundation and Living Wage Employer mark.
These new initiatives from the UK wide campaign recognise and celebrate the responsible leadership shown by Living Wage Employers and support employers to incorporate the Living Wage into organisational structures long term.
Since 2001 the campaign has impacted tens of thousands of employees and put over £210 million into the pockets of some of the lowest paid workers in the UK.
Paying the Living Wage is a recognised sign of good practice in employment.
ELM Group ahead of the curve:
We are proud as a responsible employer to have been paying at or above the rate of the National Living Wage long before the Chancellor’s announcement that it will be enforced from April 2016.
All workers aged 25 or over and not in the first year of an apprenticeship, will be legally entitled to at least £7.20 per hour. The Government is committed to increasing this every year.
The National Living Wage will be enforced as strongly as the current National Minimum Wage.
What are the benefits?
Good for Business
An independent study examining the business benefits of implementing a Living Wage policy 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%.
Two thirds of employers reported a significant impact on recruitment and retention within their organisation. 70% of employers felt that the Living Wage had increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer.
Following the adoption of the Living Wage PwC found turnover of contractors fell from 4% to 1%.
Good for Families
The Living Wage affords people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families.
75% of employees reported increases in work quality as a result of receiving the Living Wage.
50% of employees felt that the Living Wage had made them more willing to implement changes in their working practices; enabled them to require fewer concessions to effect change; and made them more likely to adopt changes more quickly.
Good for Society
The Living Wage campaign was launched in 2001 by parents in East London, who were frustrated that working two minimum wage jobs left no time for family life.
The causes of poverty are complex and in order to improve lives there should be a package of solutions across policy areas. The Living Wage can be part of the solution.
By Fiona Baxter, HR Manager.