This week (Tuesday, 16 February), the council’s cabinet approved plans for a scheme to encourage local firms to pay their employees the London Living Wage.
The London Living Wage is currently £9.40 an hour, which is £2.70 more than the national minimum wage to reflect the fact Londoners face higher living costs than the rest of the country.
Ealing Council became a Living Wage Employer in 2013 and we are proud of that status. We now want other local businesses to become responsible employers by joining the scheme.
According to the London Poverty Profile, published by the Trust for London, more than 25% of the jobs in Ealing are low paid, contributing to levels of in-work poverty, and child poverty.
We are determined to make Ealing a fairer and more prosperous borough and so we want all of our residents to be paid a decent wage.
We also want this to be a great borough to run a business, so we are doing our bit to help.
As an incentive to join the scheme, the council is intending to offer a one-off business rate discount for the first 100 local businesses that come forward. This would be the equivalent of two years’ worth of Living Wage accreditation fees. The cost of being accredited varies depending on the size of workforce and the type of organisation but the maximum discount could be up to £2,000 per business.
I am very encouraged that we have already had several expressions of interest from local firms.
And it is in their interest too because, by paying staff a living wage, businesses would be showing their commitment to fair pay. Research shows that in return for fair pay, people are more productive, take fewer sick days and are more likely to work at a company for longer. It is also good for the reputation of the business and can attract customers and prospective staff.
It is also good for our local economy – simply because more people with more money in their pockets will probably mean more money being spent with local businesses.
Businesses can find out more about the scheme by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and more details on the scheme are now available on the council’s website.