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Nov 17, 2022 | Facilities Management

The importance of Facilities Management companies paying the Real Living Wage during a cost of living crisis

What is ‘Living Wage Week’?

The ‘Living Wage Foundation’ campaign is an independent movement of businesses, organisations and people who believe companies should pay colleagues fairly for their hard work, ensuring they can meet the costs of daily living. Employers of any size can ditch the minimum wage requirements set by the government, and instead choose to pay the ‘Real Living Wage’ or ‘London Living Wage’. Living Wage Week celebrates this commitment to ethical and responsible pay.

Since the ‘Living Wage Foundation’ movement started in 2001, it has lifted 400,000 people out of working poverty. Over 11,000 accredited Living Wage Employers have supported the campaign, choosing to pay these rates reflective of society, changing the lives of their employees.

What are the Real Living Wage rates?

The Real Living Wage and London Living Wage are based on calculations by independent economists, assessing the general cost of living in the UK and London, inflation, and other real-life impacts on household income. The rates are always higher than the government’s minimum wage (renamed the ‘National Living Wage’) and they’re based on the minimal amount needed for a family to live.

At the time of writing (November 2022), the Real Living Wage (RLW) is £10.90 and the London Living Wage (LLW) is £11.95, compared to a National Living Wage of £9.50 for over 23s.

TCFM paying the Real Living Wage

TCFM has been a member of the Living Wage Foundation since July 2022. We have chosen to join, not because it’s a ‘nice to have’, but because we truly want to make a real commitment to paying well for hard work. While we are new members, TCFM has been working hard in the background for many years’ improving rates of pay with clients, often meeting the RLW/LLW rates.

How we’ve achieved this is partly down to choosing our clients carefully – we pick those who closely align with our overall people goals and share similar values. Together, we’re able to accomplish huge improvements across our entire ESG (environmental, social, and governance) strategy. We have also worked in partnership with our clients and service partners to create efficiencies throughout our services. We then reinvest the cost savings back into our colleagues’ pay rates.

We make paying well a priority across our entire business, but have shown particular success in improving rates within the security services branch of our business; TCSS. We pay most of our security officers the RLW or LLW, with no one paid minimum wage rates across our portfolio. We have found ourselves to be an anomaly in the security industry, bucking the all-too-common trend of a ‘race to the bottom’ for the costs of manned security services.

“TCFM has worked extremely hard for several years, collaborating with our customers and supply chain to pay well for our colleagues’ hard work. Being a member of the Living Wage Foundation further validates the achievements we’ve made so far. At present, we can proudly say 95% of our security officers are paid the RLW or LLW, and no one has been paid minimum pay rates for years. I feel this is our unique proposition in the FM industry, with the investment made in our people reflected in our service quality.”

Mark Robinson, Senior Business Development Director

As part of our ongoing commitment, we are now rolling this out to our contract workers and across our broader supply chain. Additionally, we produce all tenders with at least two cost options that include RLW/LLW rates.

Benefits of paying RLW

The benefits of paying the RLW/LLW are plentiful on an individual, business, and societal level. Renumerating teams well for their hard work nurtures a loyal workforce that feels valued and recognised. This improves employee retention, lowering staff turnover and subsequent recruitment costs. Better longevity within the team leads to better standards of work and better productivity, from happier and healthier employees. Overall, this leads to an upward trajectory for a brand’s reputation.

Paying the RLW/LLW also attracts talented workers, who will dedicate themselves to the company, not juggling several jobs to make ends meet. On a broader scale, it boosts the economy and helps to improve society – all much-needed benefits during these current times.

Why so important now?

Due to the current cost of living crisis, prices are at their highest levels in decades, with inflation counteracting any wage increases. This unfortunately forces more people into ‘working poverty’, with those on the lowest wages feeling the burden and pain the most.

A stressed workforce is never going to be a happy or productive one. Without appropriate support, employees may find themselves unable to get to work or look after themselves properly, having a knock-on effect on their productivity or quality of work.

It is important that we provide our colleagues with the financial security they need to work well, and that we deliver on our long-term commitment to continually pay a wage that meets the cost of living every year. It shouldn’t be radical to support staff with wages for the current cost of living, paying them fairly for their hard work.

“TCFM has always prided itself on how it supports its people. But, now more than ever, we’re making sure our actions match our words to support our colleagues, customers, and broader community. It is our hope that our commitment to the Living Wage Foundation and paying the Real Living Wage and London Living Wage will help to ease the burden of this cost of living crisis.”

Lisa Rayner, TCFM HR Business Partner

For more insight into the TCFM People Strategy, you can read our People Report.

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