Senior councillors are expected to give the go ahead to a ‘real’ living wage for council staff from next year.
At the next meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board (Wednesday 23 September), members are expected to approve proposals to pay its staff a minimum of £8.01 from April 2016.
This proposal follows an agreement earlier this year that the council would adopt the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Low Pay Charter, which committed the council to pay the equivalent hourly rate set by the Living Wage Foundation’s Campaign for Living Wages.
These proposals would mean that around 3600 council employees would benefit from the pay rise in April - including casual staff and apprentices. In addition, around 4200 school-based staff in maintained schools will also receive the pay rise. Around 80 per cent of those affected by these proposals are women.
The amount proposed by the council is also considerably higher than the £7.20 National Minimum Wage announced by the government in July.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Here in Leeds we are well aware that in-work poverty is on the increase across the country and is one of the biggest challenges we face as a city. But this is a challenge we are facing head on.
“By paying our own staff a ‘real’ minimum wage, which is over 80 pence more than the government’s national minimum wage, we are demonstrating our commitment and support to our own lower paid workers. These are people who work tirelessly for the citizens of Leeds and are the backbone of the council, without whom we could not provide the standard of services our residents expect.
“This increase will also have a knock-on effect on the wider Leeds economy as lower paid staff will be increasingly able to start benefitting from and contributing to the economic recovery in Leeds, as well as sending a clear signal to local businesses that there is a drive to build the economy and to become a more compassionate city.”