In order to become an accredited Living Wage Employer, you need to pay all of your directly employed staff a Living Wage, and have a plan in place to extend that to regular sub-contracted staff as well. The current Living Wage rates are £10.90 per hour and £11.95 in London.  


The rates for 2022/2023 were announced Thursday 22nd September 2022, the announcement was been brought forward to reflect the extrordinary rises to the cost of living this year. Usually we announce the new rates in November. Employers should implement the rise as soon as possible, but have until the deadline of 14th May 2023 at the latest. 

We don’t publish the Living Wage as an annual salary as the requirement is that the Living Wage is paid for each hour worked.

You can work out the annual salary by calculating LW x hours worked per week x 52.

For example the UK Living Wage as an annual salary might be £10.90 x 37.5 x 52 = £21,255 and the London Living Wage as an annual salary might be £11.95 x 37.5 x 52 = £23,302.50

Where a salary calculation is used accredited employers must also ensure that they pay the Living Wage for each hour of over-time worked.

It is illegal to pay staff less than the National Minimum Wage and is punishable by fines of up to £20,000 per worker.

If you have any questions about the National Minimum Wage or if you are being paid less than the minimum wage then phone the Pay and Work Rights Helpline which is operated by HMRC on Tel 0800 917 2368.

Lines are open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, Monday to Friday and 9.00 am to 1.00 pm on Saturday. All calls to the helpline are confidential.

These are the current National Minimum Wage rates:

23 and over21 and over18 to 20Under 18Apprentice*
£9.50 ('National Living Wage')£10.42£10.18£7.49


The London rate is calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence about living standards in the capital. It covers workplaces in all boroughs in Greater London. You can find out if your workplace postcode is in a London Borough here: www.gov.uk/find-local-council

In April 2016 the government introduced a higher statutory minimum wage rate for all staff over 25 years of age, and referred to it as the ‘national living wage’. In 2021, this was lowered to over 23 year olds.

The government intends the higher minimum wage rate for over 23s to reach 66% of median earnings by 2024. Current estimates suggest this would mean a rise to £10.50 per hour by 2024. 

The government's minimum wage rate is separate to the Living Wage rate calculated by the Living Wage Foundation. Unlike the Living Wage Foundation's rates, it is not calculated according to the cost of living, and is therefore lower than what people need to afford a decent standard of living. 

Full time workers receiving our independently calculated Living Wage earn about £936 a year more than those on the government's 'National Living Wage'. This rises to £2983.50 a year in London. 

You can read our response to the 2015 budget here.


The Living Wage applies to everyone over the age of 18

The Living Wage is a voluntary higher rate of base pay. It provides a benchmark for responsible employers who choose to pay their employees a rate that meets the basic cost of living in the UK and London. It is higher than the government's National Minimum Wage rates, including the minimum wage rate for over-23s (the 'National Living Wage') because it is calculated according to the cost of living.

1. Accredit where possible; there are accreditation organisations in the UK, US, New Zealand, Canada and Jersey. For further information see who is in the Global Living Wage Network

2. Develop implementation plans using guidance developed by the UN Global Compact.  

3. Join IDH’s Call to Action for recommendations on how to close the Living Wage gap and engage in sector wide Living Wage discussions  

4. Build a holistic approach looking at every level of the value chain and increase collaboration between departments internally. Ideally, set up a working group involving focal points from HR, CSR, procurement etc.  

5. Start internally before working on the supply chain 

6. If a national approach has not been established, join or initiate collaborative efforts to build a common approach with stakeholders from civil society, academia, unions, and I/NGOs.  

7. Assist with building the business case for a Living Wage in countries where collaborative efforts already exist. 


The accreditation is a signed licence between the Foundation and the employer. In order to receive a licence and become accredited please fill in an enquiry form here: https://old.livingwage.org.uk/become-a-living-wage-employer

We will send you a link to an online licence form and a guide to implementing the Living Wage. Once you have ensured your organisation satisfies the requirements please complete and submit the online form. Please note that this will require an online signature.

When we receive your licence and are sure you understand the requirements of being a Living Wage employer, we will process your accreditation. We aim to do this within ten working days, but occasionally the volume of accreditations means this may take us slightly longer. You will then receive a confirmation email welcoming you to our network, along with a copy of our logo to use and other materials to celebrate your commitment.

It will vary according to the size of your organisation and the types of contracts you have. Some employers can complete their application form straight away and we will aim to process their accreditation within ten working days. Others may have a project of work to do to identify which contracts are relevant and when they are due for renewal. Large organisations can often be accredited within 6 months.

The cost varies according to the size of your organisation, starting at £66 per year for those with fewer than 10 employees. For full details of the costs please contact us via the enquiry form.

The Living Wage Foundation does not carry out annual compliance audits of Living Wage Employers as the accreditation is a signed legal agreement of their commitment to the Living Wage.  

The Living Wage Foundation does have an anonymous whistleblowing scheme for staff to get in touch with the Foundation in confidence if they believe their employer is not paying the correct rate of pay. 

In line with the Living Wage licence agreement, if the Living Wage Foundation has reason to believe that a Living Wage Employer is breaking the terms of their licence agreement, the Living Wage Foundation will ask the employer to rectify the situation and may ask for evidence of this, such as anonymised pay slips or contract samples.  

The Living Wage Foundation also has a Compliance Check procedure in place and may ask the employer for a meeting to check they are compliant with the terms of the licence agreement, and may also ask for evidence this.  


The Living Wage applies to all directly employed staff over the age of 18 regardless of the amount of hours they work.

For third party contractors the exact definition is those who work regularly, for 2 or more hours a week, for 8 or more consecutive weeks a year.

The Living Wage does not apply to contractors that supply your organisation with products e.g. stationery suppliers.

We recommend that you communicate your Living Wage commitment to everyone you do business with, and encourage them to consider implementing the Living Wage.

Unlike apprenticeships, which are structured and audited schemes with a qualification awarded at completion (see the Government website for more information on apprenticeships), internships are not legally defined roles.

While internships provide valuable experience for young people starting out in their careers, recent research by the Sutton Trust illustrated the damaging social impact of unpaid internships and emphasized that many of these internships are in fact illegal.

As best practice, we promote that interns who are not explicitly exempt under Government guidelines are paid the real Living Wage.

Living Wage accreditation does not require employers to pay the Living Wage to volunteers or apprentices.


Good volunteering programmes can both enrich an organisation making the opportunity available and the individual donating their time (unpaid) as charitable giving. We recommend that all of our employers adhere to government best practice guidance when creating volunteer placements.


Statutory apprentice wages are lower than the minimum wage as a contribution to the cost of training, particularly in the earlier stages where apprentices may spend more time training than working. For the same reason we do not require apprentices to be paid the Living Wage. However, it is good practice to ensure pay rises over the course of the apprenticeship, and many accredited employers have chosen to extend the full Living Wage to apprentices.


The Living Wage applies to all your directly employed staff, as well as regularly contracted staff. The exact definition is those contracted staff who work 2 or more hours a week, for 8 or more consecutive weeks a year. The Living Wage does not apply to contractors that supply your organisation with products e.g. stationary suppliers.

We recommend that you communicate your Living Wage commitment to everyone you do business with, and encourage them to consider implementing the Living Wage.

The Living Wage is calculated according to the cost of living in the UK. We are a UK organisation and wages for staff outside of the UK are not covered by the agreement.

We recommend companies consider the international Living Wage guidance provided by the Ethical Trading Initiative.

Accreditation does not include any specific requirements on contract types. However, we will not accredit if there are any concerns about exploitative working practices.

While zero hours contracts can provide flexibility that works for employers and employees alike, it has been widely reported that the use of zero hours contracts has increased, and in some cases they are being abused. We advise that our employers continually review and manage the use of zero hours contracts and discuss whether there are more suitable options available with staff. Please look to the CIPD's guidance on best practice.

Employees in receipt of benefits may have their benefits reduced as their wages rise. In the vast majority of cases the benefits will "taper" off. So the employee will not be worse off, just better off by only a small amount

There are no known cases of employees being worse off as a result of receiving the Living Wage for benefits and allowances where there is a ‘taper’ in place.

We are aware that employees receiving Carers Allowance, which does not taper, have the potential to be negatively impacted as a result of pay increases. This will depend on their circumstances. Should this scenario arise we are keen to support employers and staff members by being as flexible as possible.

The last thing that we would want is for anyone to have less money in their pocket at the end of the week as a result of their employer wishing to achieve accreditation.

If any of your staff members are concerned that this would be the case then please speak to your contact at the Living Wage Foundation.

Accreditation does not require employers to break away from nationally agreed pay-scales.

It is possible to keep pay scales in place and pay a top up pay for those in the lower salary brackets that are below Living Wage.

The Living Wage rise only applies to staff whose salary is directly affected by the Living Wage.

You are not required to offer the same % increase to all staff.

However, many employers choose to maintain pay differentials, particularly for those on lower salary scales. Employers should negotiate with staff and trade unions on pay rises for staff who are not directly affected by the rise in the Living Wage.

For the purposes of Living Wage accreditation self-employed workers are treated the same as sub-contracted workers. This means that if they work for you for more than two hours for eight consecutive weeks they must be paid the Living Wage.

This also applies to workers and contractors who do not have a fixed place of work but are part of the core workforce, such as couriers in a delivery company or home care workers.

In September 2020, the UK government announced the introduction of the Kickstart Scheme, which provides employers with funding to create job placements for 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit.

Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
  • associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

Accredited Living Wage Employers are expected to top-up the wages of any employee aged 18 or over hired via the Kickstart Scheme. This is because Kickstart Scheme placements, unlike apprenticeships of traineeships, do not require the inclusion of formal training or study and are therefore classed as regular jobs eligible for Living Wage payment.

If you have any concerns about how this will affect your accreditation, please do get in touch.

At the Living Wage Foundation, we start at a place of believing whistle-blower disclosures. However, we cannot act without evidence and so expect whistle-blowers to provide evidence (e.g., anonymised payslip) of their claim, which we work with on a strictly confidential basis and will not share, unless we have explicit consent.  

We work with Living Wage accredited employers to investigate any potential noncompliance that whistleblowing has highlighted. We expect employers to reply within two weeks and then in a time bound way to investigate and provide evidence they have resolved any issues of noncompliance, including implementing backpay, if relevant.  

It is out of our remit to act on any issues outside of Living Wage accreditation and would direct anyone towards ACAS or their trade union for further advice. Similarly, we can only act on disclosures from the person affected, unless in exceptional circumstances. 


In order to be accredited an employer must pay all directly employed staff the Living Wage and have an agreed plan in place for third party contracted staff such as contracted catering, cleaning, security, parks or ground staff. Phased implementation means that the Living Wage is rolled out across third party contracts over time, as the contracts come up for renewal. These contracts are included in the licence agreement as 'milestones'. The Foundation will check in with you periodically to ensure the milestones are on track.

In order to be accredited an employer must pay all directly employed staff the Living Wage and have an agreed plan in place for third party contracted staff such as contracted catering, cleaning, security, parks or ground staff. Where contracted staff cannot be moved onto the Living Wage immediately, organisations can choose to roll out the Living Wage across third party contracts over time, as the contracts come up for renewal. This is called phased implementation. The contracts are included in the licence agreement as 'milestones'. The Foundation will check in with you periodically to ensure the milestones are on track.

You should let your existing and any new contractors know that you have decided to become a Living Wage employer as soon as possible. We can provide a sample letter if you become accredited.

You should approach positively from the point that you are a client that requires a service and the service you require is Living Wage staff. Your contractors may have heard of the Living Wage, but if they have not you can send them some of our information or direct them to the website.

They might be interested in our Service Provider Recognition scheme.

Phased implementation means that you can roll the Living Wage out across contracts as they come up for renewal.

If you have a contractor who refuses to work with you on the Living Wage, you can be accredited now and use your next tender process to find one who will.

All directly employed staff, regardless of time spent at work, as well as regularly contracted staff who work for 2 hours a week, for 8 or more consecutive weeks of the year must be paid the Living Wage.

You may have cleaners that work on your premises, that are shared with other tenants. This first step is to find out from your building management company whether the cleaners are paid the LW.

If they are not then the ideal outcome would be to persuade your building management to pay all cleaners, security and reception staff the LW. You might want to organise a meeting of tenants in the building and raise the issue of the LW with this group. If you can get support from a group of tenants and then approach the building manager together you will have a more powerful case for persuasion.

If it is not possible to persuade other tenants and the building manager to work with you on the Living Wage then you can request to pay the staff the Living Wage rate for the time they are providing a service on your premises. As you are a paying client the building manager should be willing to provide you with a service agreement on the terms you require.

Employees transferred under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment), or TUPE, regulations should be paid at least the Living Wage in line with your other employees.

The licence requires that all those employees who work for you for 2 or more hours a day, in any day of the week, for 8 or more consecutive weeks must be paid the Living Wage. So technically you have up to a maximum of 8 weeks to implement the pay increase.


Only guaranteed non-deferred payments can be included in the Living Wage rate.

This means guaranteed bonus payments can be included. Examples of guaranteed bonuses are a time away from home allowance, or an inner city weighting allowance. Non-guaranteed payments such as productivity or sales related bonuses cannot be included, except in specific cases where the hourly wage of the worker is guaranteed.

No, employer contributions to pensions cannot form part of the Living Wage payment. Only guaranteed non-deferred payments can be included. A pension is a deferred payment and so does not help the employee with the cost of living at the current time.

No, the Living Wage does not include non-cash goods.