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Updates from the Living Wage Foundation

Standard Life announces accreditation as a Living Wage Employer

Standard Life announces that it has received full recognition as a Living Wage Employer in the UK. Standard Life employs over 5,000 people in the UK and all its employees receive as a minimum the UK Living Wage. In implementing its UK Living Wage policy, Standard Life aims to support those at the lower end of the earnings spectrum and has gone beyond the basic requirements for formal accreditation, by including all interns in its approach.

Government data shows that in real terms, average weekly earnings in the UK have fallen by 8% since 2008 - by 2013 they had backtracked to 2002 levels in real terms (Source:ONS Patterns of Pay report). The UK Living Wage aims to counteract the impact that a rise in the cost of living has on lower earners in a way that the Minimum Wage does not. The Minimum Wage in the UK is currently £6.31 an hour in the UK, but the UK Living Wage, which is set independently and calculated in accordance to the basic cost of living in the UK, is considerably higher at £7.65, rising to £8.80 in London.

Standard Life first introduced the UK Living Wage in April 2012 to demonstrate its commitment to its Sustainability Strategy. Since then, it has worked to ensure that all people providing regular contracted services, such as catering, cleaning and security, are paid at least the UK Living wage.

Standard Life has also extended its UK Living Wage policy to include all school leavers and graduates on its intern programmes.

  • Edinburgh Guarantee – 6 month programme to help school leavers gain a foothold in the workplace
  • Graduate Internships – summer programmes designed for those going into their final year of study to provide both practical experience and insight into Standard Life
  • Career Academy – four week work experience and insight programme, supported by ongoing mentoring for two years

In addition to its policy on the UK Living Wage, Standard Life has also committed to not employing anyone on a zero-hours contract and has already agreed with one of its key providers that they will also embrace this commitment.

Commenting, Sandy Begbie, Group Operations Officer, said:

“By introducing our UK Living Wage policy and our commitment to having no zero-hours contracts, we’re helping the people who work for Standard Life in the UK and supporting the communities in which we are based. Being a UK Living Wage employer has supported us in attracting high quality candidates who want to stay and we are also seeing a positive impact on our employee engagement and the overall quality of the work we do. All of this is an important part of our strategy to be a sustainable business and we are really pleased to have achieved full accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.”

Cara Gilbert, an intern with Standard Life as part of the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme added:

“The UK Living Wage is a massive step up from the minimum wage and has enabled me to move away from home to take up the opportunity provided by Standard Life and the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme. I’m gaining valuable experience working within a well-respected business and earning a good wage.”

Rhys Moore, Director, Living Wage Foundation said:

“We are delighted to accredit Standard Life as Living Wage employers. The leadership shown by Standard Life demonstrates a commitment to tackling the serious problems that low pay and zero hours contracts bring to our communities.

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay. The benefits of the Living Wage are felt first and foremost at home, with employees better able to afford essentials, from feeding the family to saving for a rainy day.

“The National Minimum Wage provides an effective robust minimum floor for wages and has all but eliminated extremely low pay in the UK. One side effect is that we now see rates of pay at the lower end of the market clustered at or just above the National Minimum Wage. The Living Wage provides a recognised benchmark for employers who are able to pay more.”

Media enquiries

Nicki Lundy, tel: 0131 245 2737

12th May 2014, 14:42
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