The Real Living Wage is Going Up

By Holly Brockwell on at

The voluntary Real Living Wage – paid by businesses who like their employees to be able to afford luxuries like food and electricity – is going up, meaning workers all over the country are about to get a payrise.

The new Real Living Wage is £10.55 an hour in London and £9 outside it, which means 35p an hour extra for people in the capital and 25p an hour for people elsewhere in the UK.

There isn't an official start to the Real Living Wage because it's voluntary, so it's now up to the 4,700 businesses that pay their staff the wage to implement the change. The rise was announced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan at the Barbican, which pays its workers the Real Living Wage.

If you're a bit confused by the whole thing, let us explain. There's a Minimum Wage, which is for under-25s and is mandated by the government. Then there's the National Living Wage, which is basically the Minimum Wage but for over-25s. And then there's the Real Living Wage, which is a voluntary scheme administered by the Living Wage Foundation, which aims to give a figure that people can actually live on, because they believe the figure set by the government is unrealistic (shocker).

If that doesn't clear things up, here's a handy table:

The most surprising thing about this whole endeavour is that nearly 5,000 businesses voluntarily pay their staff the Real Living Wage when no one's making them. Having worked for plenty of small businesses, including a sandwich shop that made us only wear one glove to save money, this is impressive. Apparently 1,200 of those businesses joined in the last year, including Liverpool FC, the University of Bristol, Sheffield City Region and Aberystwyth University.

The Real Living Wage campaign has apparently put £200m extra in workers' pockets over the last year, and a whopping £809m since the campaign began.

Congratulations to the 180,000 people about to get a payrise. Drinks are on you.