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Updates from the Living Wage Foundation


Aviva and Standard Life Aberdeen have today been announced as the UK’s first accredited Living Hours Employers. Their accreditation means that, in addition to paying their staff the real Living Wage of £9.30 in the UK or £10.75 in London, they will provide them with a guaranteed and stable minimum of working hours each week.

The first Living Hours accreditations come amid strong public support for such measures during the pandemic. New polling conducted for the Living Wage Foundation shows that 84% of adults think that businesses should be required to offer guaranteed, regular shift patterns or number and frequency of working hours. This includes over 80% of adults in former “Red Wall” constituencies.

The Living Hours programme sets a new standard for employers seeking to go beyond the Living Wage in their commitment to decent work. Employers who accredit with the programme commit to provide at least 4 weeks’ notice for every shift, with guaranteed payment if shifts are cancelled within this notice period. They also provide a guaranteed minimum of 16 working hours every week (unless the worker requests otherwise), and a contract that accurately reflects hours worked.

The new Living Hours standard reflects the fact that since the Living Wage campaign began in 2001, the shape of low-paid work has changed. There has been a well-documented rise in insecurity, with over 5 million workers in low-paid and insecure work on the eve of the pandemic. Since then the pandemic has underscored the challenge that insecurity poses to workers and families, with insecure work more prevalent among both key workers who have kept the economy going and low-paid service workers whose jobs have been most disrupted by lockdowns. Our research has found that the sectors with the highest numbers of people in low-paid and insecure work are retail (830,000), health and social work (640,000), and hospitality (580,000).

Danielle Harmer, Chief People Officer, Aviva, said:

“It’s time to put an end to insecure working contracts with unpredictable hours. Now more than ever, with so many facing uncertainty, being unable to rely on a steady income - even in the short term -  is adding to the stress people are experiencing.  Living Hours play a crucial role in providing people with financial security, clarity and certainty.”

Sandy MacDonald, Global Head of Corporate Sustainability, Standard Life Aberdeen, said:

“We’ve been delighted to work with Living Wage Foundation, other employers, and experts from across civil society to develop this accreditation and to be one of the first accredited Living Hours employers. Living Hours addresses a key issue driving in-work poverty in the UK and is a practical, voluntary commitment employers can make to give workers more security and confidence in planning their own and their families lives.”

Laura Gardiner, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “We’re delighted that Aviva and Standard Life Aberdeen have accredited as our first Living Hours Employers. This is a challenging time and the pandemic has affected all of our lives and livelihoods in some way. It has also shone a light on the importance of providing workers and families with stability and security, particularly those essential workers like cleaners, caterers and security staff that we have relied upon to keep our economy going. It’s therefore no surprise that there is strong public support for requirements to provide stable and guaranteed minimum hours. Committing to Living Hours represents businesses helping to lead us through and out of this crisis by strengthening their commitment to decent work.”


Notes to Editors

Polling work was conducted by Survation with fieldwork undertaken between 8th – 12th October, 2020. Total sample size was 2,300 adults aged 18+ and resident in the UK. The survey was conducted online. 

About Living Hours

The campaign for a real Living Wage has ensured hundreds of thousands of workers are earning a wage they can live on, not just the government minimum. But millions of low paid workers are also struggling to get the hours they need to make ends meet. That’s why the Living Wage Foundation has developed a new standard of what good looks like for those employers that can offer ‘Living Hours’ alongside a real Living Wage.

Living Hours is a new standard that sets out what good looks like. It calls on employers to provide the right to:

  • Decent notice periods for shifts: of at least 4 weeks’ notice, with guaranteed payment if shifts are cancelled within this notice period.
  • A right to a contract with living hours: the right to a contract that reflects accurate hours worked, and a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week (unless the worker requests otherwise)

What is the real Living Wage? 

The real Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay set independently and updated annually (not the UK government’s National Living Wage). It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK, and employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. According to the Living Wage Foundation, since 2001 the campaign has impacted over 200,000 employees and delivered over £1bn extra to some of the lowest paid workers in the UK.

How is the real Living Wage different from the government’s National Living Wage?

In April 2016 the government introduced a higher minimum wage rate for all staff over 25 years of age inspired by the Living Wage campaign, calling it the ‘National Living Wage’. The government's 'National Living Wage' is not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live. That's why the Living Wage movement campaigns for all employers that can afford to do so to ensure their employees earn a wage that meets the cost of living, not just the government minimum.

About the Living Wage Foundation

The Living Wage Foundation is the institution at the heart of the independent movement of businesses, organisations and people who believe that a hard day’s work should mean a fair day’s pay. We recognise and celebrate the leadership shown by the 6,000 Living Wage Employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to ensure their staff earn a real Living Wage that meets the cost of living. We are an initiative of Citizens UK. 

Only the real Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and in London. Employers choose to pay this wage on a voluntary basis. The real Living Wage applies to all workers over 18 – in recognition that young people face the same living costs as everyone else. It enjoys cross party support. 

The UK Living Wage for outside of London from Monday 11th November is £9.30 per hour. The London Living Wage is £10.75 per hour. These figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK and in London.


Press and Media Enquiries- Living Wage Foundation

John Hood, Senior Communications Manager - / 07507 173649

Tom Blin, Communications Officer - / 07706 217589

20th October 2020
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