A New Accreditation and a Benefit for VSM Pharmacy Staff

Real Living Wage Logo

VSM Pharmacy had some good news this week. They are pleased to be accredited as a Real Living Wage employer. And they can now offer the benefits of a real living wage to their staff.

A Real Living Wage is different to the minimum wage. You get more money for a start. The minimum wage may not be enough to buy a basketful of household essentials and services; the Real Living Wage ensures you have enough.

What you earn with a Real Living Wage

For example, if a staff member is earning minimum wage, they would earn £8.36 an hour. A member of staff over the age of 23 will earn £9.50 an hour. The minimum wage is the same everywhere in the UK.

VSM is proud to offer a Real Living Wage as a starting salary to any staff over the age of 21.  The calculations for the Real Living Wage are based on the cost of services and essentials you need to buy to meet your everyday needs.

A Real Living Wage across the UK is £9.90 per hour and if you live in Greater London, you get more. London residents will earn £11.05 per hour.

Employers aren’t obliged to pay the Real Living Wage, it is entirely voluntary, made by employers who believe their staff deserve better.

Pharmacist and owner of VSM Pharmacy, Jirina Thielens says “we want to pay all our staff  a fair wage that reflects the cost of living, and the Real  Living Wage does just this.”

Companies that have joined the Real Wage campaign include Ikea, Oxfam, Aviva and Nestle. But like VSM Pharmacy, small businesses are also welcome to participate.

The birth of the Living Wage campaign

The Living Wage campaign was the idea of Citizen’s UK in 2001. It began by going out into the community and asking about issues community members were facing. 

Time and time again, Citizen’s UK found that the leading issue was low wages. They spoke to people who were doing 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs just to keep their heads above water.

Between 2002 and 2004 the Living Wage campaign gained popularity in the capital. In 2011 it went national and now covers the entire United Kingdom. In the same year, the Living Wage Foundation was launched, and it set the first living wage rate.

Government Support

The foundation deals with people, businesses, and organisations. It has cross-party support, so it doesn’t depend on one political party. Today political parties including the Scottish government are doing their best to persuade employers of the benefits of a living wage, rather than the minimum wage.

Companies that have introduced the Real Living Wage report that they have lower staff turnover and better productivity. Staff who feel valued, say these companies, are willing to go the extra mile.

Living Hours

Another campaign headed by the Real Living Wage Foundation is Living Hours. They have set out a standard for the hours given to workers to enable them to earn a decent living.

The standard asks employers to provide:

  • Decent notice periods for shifts: of at least 4 weeks’ notice with guaranteed payments for cancelled shifts within this notice period
  • The right to a contract that reflects accurate hours worked
  • A guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week unless the worker requests otherwise

Become Accredited with the Real Living Wage Foundation

If you know an employer who would be interested in the benefits of the Real Living Wage campaign or would like accreditation they can fill out the form on the living wage website.

Small, independent companies can become accredited within around 10 days. Larger companies take longer.

To learn more about the Living Wage Foundation, log into their website where you can read more about how to become accredited and the working hours campaign. You can also have a look through the answers to frequently asked questions. 

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