Real Living Wage – what is it and why is it important?

By Sally Page. Development Worker & Digital Partnership Co-ordinator. November 2021.

The Real Living Wage (RLW) is the only UK hourly wage rate based on the actual cost of living and has recently increased by 40 pence to £9.90 per hour. If you live in London, it is £11.05 per hour. The Real Living Wage rates are higher than national minimum wage because they are independently calculated and based on what people need to get by.  

The Real Living Wage Foundation have an accreditation scheme for organisations who pay the RLW to their employees and contractors. This gives organisations a way to demonstrate that they are committed to fair pay and employers’ rights, whilst also helping to raise awareness on a political and national level.  

CCVS are proud to have become a Living Wage Employer and we hope your organisation will join us by becoming one too.  

What did CCVS have to do to become accredited?  

The process of becoming accredited was straightforward for CCVS as the Living Wage was already paid to staff and contractors which meant that we did not need to change payrolls or contracts before applying.  

We expressed an interest in becoming accredited via the Living Wage Foundation website. Once we received more information from the foundation, we completed the license agreement, which is the formal application for accreditation. The form asked for information about our staff and pay structure, but it only took about ten minutes to complete. 

Within a few days, our application was approved, and we received a £60 invoice to pay for the first year, before officially becoming accredited. The payment was made, thanks to a grant by Cambridge City Council. The foundation sent us a wealth of marketing resources, to help us share the good news, including our lovely Living Wage Employer Plaque, which we received in the post and promptly fixed to our office wall.  

Real Living Wage employer plaque. It is a glass plaque with the CCVS logo and Real Living Wage Employer logo. 
The text on the plaque reads; We are a Living Wage Employer. The Living Wage Foundation is proud to award the Living Wage Employer mark to CCCVS. This organisation is an accredited Living Wage Employer.

How can we help your organisation become accredited? 

There are a couple of keyways CCVS can help your organisation become accredited.  

Firstly, we are proud to be working with Cambridge City Council to administrate grants, available to cover the initial accreditation cost for Cambridge based voluntary organisations.  

The grant process could not be more straightforward. Simply contact CCVS to let us know you would like to apply for accreditation. We will double check that the funds are available, and once we have confirmed, you can go ahead with your application. When you receive the invoice for becoming accredited, you forward it to us at CCVS, and we pay the fee for you, easy peasey! 

As always, we are here to help. If you need to make salary changes to pay the Real Living Wage, you may need support with the process, or you might want a sounding board to talk things through, ahead of applying. Whatever your query, reach out and we can have a chat. It might be that we put you in touch with the Living Wage Foundation directly, or answer your questions there and then, but no matter what, we are here to provide support.  

With the cost of living going up, the need to take action to enable better pay across our sector is as vital as ever. Whilst this is just one cog in the wheel, if you join us in becoming a Living Wage Employer you will be contributing towards Cambridge becoming a fairer city, and that can only be a good thing. 

Get in touch  

Email: enquiries@cambridge.org.uk   

The Living Wage Foundation website www.livingwage.org.uk