NHS Highland has today been confirmed as an accredited Living Wage employer.
Their Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at the health board, including regular workers employed through third party suppliers receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.90 per hour.
The new real Living Wage rate was announced on Monday 15th November as part of Living Wage Week and is significantly higher than the government minimum for over 23s, which currently stands at £8.91 per hour.
The real Living Wage rate increase this year has largely been driven by sharply rising fuel and rent costs.
The real Living Wage is different to the Government minimum wage for over 23s, called the ‘National Living Wage (NLW).
While the real Living Wage is independently calculated based on living costs and is paid by employers voluntarily, the government’s NLW is based on a percentage of median earnings, and all employers are required to pay it.
In Scotland, more than 14.4% of all jobs pay less than the real Living Wage – around 333,000 jobs.
Despite this, NHS Highland has committed to pay the real Living Wage and deliver a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.
This announcement comes during Living Wage week (15-19th November), an annual celebration of the real Living Wage in the UK.
There are now more than 2400 Living Wage employers in Scotland, 204 of which are based in the Highlands region.
NHS Highland join other major Living Wage employers in the local area including The Highland Council, LifeScan Scotland, Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd and Inverness College.
Since 2011 the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 52,000 people in Scotland and put over £310 million extra into the pockets of low paid workers in Scotland.
Pam Dudek, Chief Executive with NHS Highland, said:
“I’m proud that NHS Highland has been confirmed as an accredited Living Wage employer.
“Our staff are our greatest asset and not only do we want them to stay, we also want people to think of us as an employer they can work with.
“Our accreditation also recognises our commitment to work with organisations in our supply chains to encourage the payment of the real Living Wage to staff across those organisations, something which will have a positive impact across all our communities.
“We’re working hard to ensure colleagues feel valued and this will help us in achieving that.”
Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance said:
“We’re delighted that NHS Highland has become an accredited Living Wage employer.
“We know that the real Living Wage can bring improvements in both the physical and mental wellbeing of workers and is an important aspect of tackling both in-work poverty and health inequalities in Scotland.
“Too many workers in Scotland are paid less than the real Living Wage and, at a time of rising costs, are struggling to stay afloat.
“The real Living Wage can offer protection from those rising costs, and the accreditation of NHS Highland is an important signal to other major employers and public institutions that they too can do right by their workers by becoming Living Wage accredited.”
Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Scotland Manager said:
“Congratulations to NHS Highland on becoming Living Wage accredited.
“They join a growing movement of more than 2200 Living Wage employers who together want to ensure workers have what they need to thrive.
“When major anchor institutions like health boards become Living Wage accredited, this helps raise awareness of the importance of the real Living Wage in the local area and can encourage other employers to join bringing extra revenue to the local economy through increased spending.
“We hope to see many more employers following their example, to help create a more just labour market across the Highlands.”