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The National Living Wage and the real Living Wage - what's the difference?

2023 LW rates
2023 LW rates

The Chancellor announced that the Government's National Living Wage will rise to £11.44 an hour in November 2023's Autumn Statement.

This is welcome news for those on the lowest incomes, but it still falls short of the real Living Wage.

With a number of different 'Living Wages', it can get confusing. Here we break down the different types, and explain why the real Living Wage should be the minimum people earn.

What's the National Living Wage?

The National Living Wage is the minimum wage for people over 21 throughout the UK. It's the statutory wage rate. This means all employers have to pay employees over the age of 21 at least the National Living Wage by law.

Currently the National Living Wage is £11.44 per hour. The rate is the same across the whole of the UK. There's no London weighting.

What's the real Living Wage?

The real Living Wage rate is calculated based on the cost of living. It's a voluntary wage rate, which means employers don't have to pay it, but they can sign up to become a real Living Wage accredited employer.

There's a higher rate for workers in London to reflect the greater cost of living for people in the capital.

The real Living Wage is £12 across the UK and £13.15 in London (the London Living Wage).

More than 14,000 employers are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

Why is it important to pay the real Living Wage?

Paying the real Living Wage is the single most important thing employers can do to help lift people out of poverty. It's the only wage rate that reflects the cost of living.

At least half a million people in London are paid less than the London Living Wage. In-work poverty remains all too common across our capital city. By getting accredited as a Living Wage employer, organisations can help tackle this problem and become part of a fantastic movement of people doing business the right way.

Find out more about the Living Wage on the Living Wage Foundation's website.

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