The real Living Wage is the only wage rate calculated based on what people need to live on. It currently stands at £12.00 (UK) and £13.15 (London).

In the past two years, record numbers of employers have signed up to pay the real Living Wage, with 1 in 9 employees now working for an accredited Living Wage Employer.

Over 14,000 UK businesses are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

The latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), by the Living Wage Foundation, reveals that the number of low-paid jobs has risen for the first time since 2020, with 1 in 8, paid below the real Living Wage in April 2023.

The hospitality sector has the highest rate of low-paid jobs, with nearly half (48.1%) of all jobs in the sector paid below the real Living Wage. This is roughly twice as high as the next two sectors with the highest rate of low pay; ‘arts, entertainment and recreation’ (24.7%) and ‘retail and wholesale’ (23.2%). Hospitality has been the sector with the highest level of low-paid jobs for 12 years.

The Living Wage Foundation has stated that hospitality businesses could benefit from paying staff the real Living Wage, with 66% of Londoners polled saying they would be more likely to choose such venues and 60% willing to pay more for them.

The level of low paid jobs in the UK was lower than expected in 2023 due to higher-than-expected levels of nominal wage growth and sharp increases in the National Living Wage.

Research published by the Living Wage Foundation found that despite easing inflation, the cost-of-living crisis is far from over for low paid workers. 39% of those earning less than the real Living Wage report regularly skipping meals for financial reasons from August 2023. 32% have been unable to heat their homes, and 27% have fallen behind on their rent or mortgage payments. 52% said that earning less than the real Living Wage during the cost-of-living crisis has negatively impacted their mental health.

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