The Real Living Wage increases

The real Living Wage rates for 2020/21 have been announced as £9.50 in the UK and £10.85 in London.

For the UK this will mean:

  • Over 250,000 people are set for a pay boost.
  • Since 2011, over £1.3 billion in extra wages has gone to low-paid workers thanks to the Living Wage movement, with £800m going to people in key worker industries.
  • Nearly £200 million in extra wages has gone to low-paid workers since the start of lockdown.

Early years practitioners are overworked, underpaid and often undervalued. The sector is committed to delivering high quality care for children, but the work done has not been recognised. After years of inadequate funding from the Government, the sector suffers from unacceptably low salaries. It’s time to prioritise early years funding to match the increasing operating costs.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: ‘Nurseries and other childcare settings work hard to pay their dedicated staff the wages they deserve, but are hamstrung by low hourly rates they receive for funded places.

‘Increases to the Real Living Wage are good news for workers in low-paid sectors. While childcare has traditionally been seen in this bracket, the Low Pay Commission has identified the sector as ‘fee takers’ with government funding rates acting as a brake on earnings.

‘In the current pandemic childcare providers are open for children and families but face higher running costs at a time of reduced income.

 ‘As nurseries in Scotland look ahead to the full roll-out of 1140 hours of childcare to three and four-year-olds, they will have to pay staff the Real Living Wage once it becomes a National Standard requirement next year. If this is to be a reality, the sustainable rates paid by councils must clearly show how increases like this have been factored into their funding.

In England, the Government must factor annual increases like this into the hourly rates providers receive if we are to give children access to high quality early education and childcare. Childcare is essential for any plans for parents to re-enter work or training. A plan for jobs needs a Plan for Childcare.

‘As the Welsh Government reviews the rates for the Childcare Offer and Foundation Phase, they must factor in the increases in staffing costs needed to attract and retain the right staff for the sector.’

Laura Gardiner, Living Wage Foundation director, said: ‘It’s an incredibly challenging time for us all, but today’s new Living Wage rates will give a boost to hundreds of thousands of UK workers, including thousands of key and essential workers like cleaners, care workers, and delivery drivers who have kept our economy going.

‘Since the start of the pandemic employers have continued to sign up to a real Living Wage. During Living Wage Week it’s right that we celebrate 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.’

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