10th May 2017
Trees for Life has won accreditation as a Living Wage Employer under the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative. The organisation has committed to ensuring that staff and contractors will receive at least £8.45 per hour regardless of age, which is significantly more than the current government minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.50 per hour.
Trees for Life chose to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis. It has 23 full and part-time staff based in two locations – at its head office near Forres, Moray and at its acclaimed Dundreggan Conservation Estate in Glenmoriston, Inverness-shire.
Steve Micklewright, CEO of Trees for Life said: “Low pay is a real problem in rural Scotland, coupled with higher than average living costs for things like transport. So we think it’s really important to ensure that all employees have a fair rate of pay. We hope to show that it is possible to thrive and grow as an organisation on that basis.”
The charity’s commitment to fair pay has been welcomed by the Poverty Alliance, which delivers the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation. The real Living Wage is an hourly rate based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK and is reviewed annually.
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said: “Congratulations to Trees for Life on demonstrating the importance of the real Living Wage by becoming a Living Wage employer. The Living Wage makes a huge difference to people’s lives and is an important tool to help address levels of in-work poverty. My hope is that more organisations follow their lead by becoming accredited – making a public commitment to their staff and the wider community that they are a fair dealing employer.“
Trees for Life is an award-winning charity working to restore the native Caledonian Forest and its unique wildlife to the spectacular Highlands of Scotland. The charity’s work is about people as much as places.
People can support Trees for Life by becoming members and by funding dedicated trees and groves. Volunteers carry out almost all of the charity’s practical conservation work, including through Conservation Weeks in beautiful locations.
About the Living Wage in Scotland
Poverty Alliance is working in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation to accredit Living Wage employers in Scotland.
The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross party support, in both the Scottish and Westminster parliaments.
The UK Living Wage for outside of London is currently £8.45 per hour, and £9.75 in London. These figures are set by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the independent Living Wage Commission.
There are currently over 700 accredited employers in Scotland and over 3,000 across the UK. The Living Wage Foundation is an initiative of Citizens UK.
The Living Wage Foundation, Poverty Alliance and the Scottish Living Wage Campaign believe that work should be the surest way out of poverty.
What about the Government’s national living wage?
In July 2015 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the UK Government would introduce a compulsory ‘national living wage’. This new government rate is a minimum wage premium rate for staff over 25 years old. It was introduced in April 2016 and the rate is currently £7.50 per hour. The rate is separate to the Living Wage rate calculated by the Living Wage Foundation. The government rate is based on median earnings while the Living Wage Foundation rate is calculated according to the cost of living.
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