Paying The Living Wage
Lidl, the popular supermarket chain, will incur additional expenses of over £9million following its announcement to increase the minimum wage of its employees. It represents a 14 per cent salary rise for over 51 per cent of its staff. The firm has chosen to benchmark its pay against the UK Living Wage rather than the national minimum wage of currently £6.50 (for over 21s). The Living Wage as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation takes into account “the basic cost of living in the UK” allowing pay to escape poverty.
Though Lidl pays the highest of the supermarkets, it is not the only supermarket chain following this guide. Tesco, Sainsburys, Aldi and Asda all pay above the national minimum wages with the first three paying their staff above the UK living wage (for outside London). Though agreed to be broadly positive, the living wage must not be blindly accepted. Far from being just an issue of pay, could it be one of employer morals too? And are we focussing too narrowly on pay rates at the expense of other important workplace indicators – such as wellbeing and labour turnover or job satisfaction?