FIFE Council is pushing forward in its aim to create a Fairer Fife by achieving accredited Living Wage employer status.
Paying the voluntary Living Wage means that every member of staff in the council earns not just the minimum wage but the Living Wage, an hourly rate set independently and updated annually, based on the cost of living in the UK. There are currently 2,545 Fife Council employees receiving the Living Wage.
The council has pledged to help create a Fairer Fife and do things differently by 2030. It is working together with communities, businesses and its other partners to create a Kingdom that is better for everyone.
Council Leader, David Ross said: “I am very pleased that the Council has now achieved this status as an accredited Living Wage employer. This demonstrates our clear commitment to addressing low pay in the public sector and beyond as we work towards creating a fairer and more prosperous Fife for everyone.
“There are too many Fifers living in relative poverty and that’s unacceptable. The Council is leading by example by making sure that all our employees are paid a decent living wage. We are now working with partners to encourage all employers and businesses across Fife to pay the living wage to help change people’s lives for the better.
“There is clear evidence that those on lower incomes tend to spend a greater proportion of their wages locally, so by putting more money in their pockets we are also helping the local economy.”
The Living Wage is set nationally and becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer means the council is committed to keep paying it as it increases in the years ahead. However, to become an accredited Living Wage Employer, an organisation must consider more than its own workforce. Any regularly contracted staff working for the council should also be paid the living wage.
Steve Grimmond, Chief Executive of Fife Council, said: “Our procurement team has worked with around 250 contractors to establish if they already pay the living wage and, if not, to discuss with them how they may achieve this in the future.
“Like others, we have financial challenges to address but we see Scottish Living Wage Accreditation as a positive step for the organisation and our workforce, helping us attract, retain and motivate people who put excellent service delivery at the heart of what we do. The research indicates that there are strong benefits for employers and employees through adopting the Living Wage”
Fife Council has paid the living wage rate since 2013 for all directly employed employees. The rate for local authority employees is currently £8.33 per hour compared to a minimum wage for workers over 25 of £7.20. Fife Council has committed to paying the living wage for all employees regardless of their age.
Steve Grimmond continues: “We’re Fife’s largest employer and it’s vital that we continue our commitment to make a positive difference to people’s lives, and show our commitment to that as part of a wider strategy to extend the practice.”
Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance said: “Congratulations to Fife Council on becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer.
“Almost two thirds of children in poverty in Scotland live in families where at least one adult is in work. It is clear that the traditional route out of poverty, work, is not working. The Living Wage is a crucial step to allow those in work to become more included in society, better provide for their families, and feel that their value and hard work is recognised by their employer.
“We are delighted that Fife Council have taken this important step to show their support for, and commitment to, the real Living Wage and with one in four Local Authorities in Scotland now an accredited Living Wage Employer, it’s clear this is a movement that’s growing in strength.”
You can find out more about the Living Wage by visiting www.scottishlivingwage.org.