The Living Wage Campaign – started over a decade ago by religious and civic groups in East London – has had a huge impact on the lives of low-income families, raising the wages of over 300,000 workers, and putting over £500 million into their pockets in London alone. From being dismissed as 'unrealistic', it has grown into a national movement supported by political leaders, implemented by the Mayor of London, and recognised as having a robust business case by companies like Barclays Bank and KPMG.
It is important to recognise the central role of churches and other faith communities from the very start of the Living Wage Campaign. There would be no Living Wage without the thousands of people of faith who have organised together for change. Faith communities have provided the majority of organised local people who made the Living Wage possible. Christian social teaching is a key motivation for the campaign; the Bible is clear that the earth belongs first to God and that its fruits need to be distributed in a way that ensures everyone has dignity and the material as well as spiritual means to flourish.
Churches that take the step to accredit as Living Wage Employers are not only ensuring that those working in the church are paid a wage that can meet the cost of living at a time when this is more important than ever: accrediting is also a public symbolic action, positioning the Church as a force for good in the community that it serves, and as an organization that is ‘walking the walk’ in tackling local poverty. It is an expression of solidarity with low paid workers, and also commits ourselves to continuing to ensure we pay our employees and contractors a living wage in the future and not only today.
How do we accredit?
The cost of accreditation for Churches starts at just £60 annually. In order to accredit as a Living Wage Employer, the Church must:
Confirm that its directly employed staff are being paid the current Living Wage rates;
Have a plan in place to extend the living wage to include any third-party staff;
The final step is to complete a Licence Agreement which will be shared after enquiring about accreditation, which sets out your commitments.
Once accredited, the Church will appear on the Living Wage Foundation’s website as a Living Wage Employer, as well as on a localised map, and will be able to proudly share the Living Wage logo and take part in celebrations in Living Wage Week and beyond.
To begin the accreditation process, visit the Living Wage Foundation.
Typically, smaller Churches can expect to be accredited within one month of applying.
You can also encourage your local Church of England School to pay and accredit as a living wage employer. Through accreditation, schools are making a commitment to tackle in-work poverty in their communities. They are ensuring that all staff are paid at least the Living Wage and are independently calculated.
To read more about the Living Wage from a Christian perspective, last year's Citizens UK and CTC guide to celebrating Living Wage Week in your church is available to download: