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The Living Wage matters

04 Nov 2013

A few weeks ago SSE announced that it had become a Living Wage employer – one of only three FTSE 100 companies to do so. It was a proud and rewarding moment for all of us in the company. Today, I’m equally proud that the Living Wage rate is going up from £7.45 to £7.65.

Our decision to become an accredited Living Wage employer was no PR stunt, rather it was a long-term commitment to do the right thing by our employees, regardless of their position or experience. I firmly believe that everyone should get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

The whole point of the Living Wage is that is should match the money people need to cover life’s basic expenses, including housing, food and transport. All of these costs are rising and so it’s right that the Living Wage should rise too.

The Living Wage isn’t a number, it’s a principle. And it was that principle that SSE signed up to a few weeks ago.

The new rate, set by the Living Wage Foundation will come into effect next April.

And there’s another important part of SSE’s Living Wage commitment which will make a big difference to people’s lives – every new contract awarded from 1st April will include a clause that everyone working for our suppliers on SSE sites must also receive the Living Wage.

Research published by the Resolution Foundation recently reported that the number of UK workers earning below the Living Wage had risen to 4.8 million, up from 3.4 million in 2009. It made sad reading but also underlined why SSE decided to become an accredited Living Wage employer.

As a company, SSE has taken a big step but as a society we’ve still got a long way to go before everyone is paid a Living Wage. Now it’s up to other companies to show that they too value their employees the way we do. I sincerely hope they follow our lead.