An NHS trust in Northamptonshire has pledged to pay all its staff the living wage.
The commitment by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) will see everyone, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors and suppliers; receive a minimum hourly wage of £7.85 as opposed to the minimum wage set by law of £6.50.
Chris Oakes, director of human resources and organisational development at NHFT said: “We are thrilled to receive living wage accreditation.
“It is vital for us as an NHS organisation to have a dedicated and motivated workforce providing passionate care to our patients and service users. I believe living wage accreditation shows our commitment to everyone who is part of team NHFT.”
The living wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually.
It is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK.
Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.
Employers choose to pay the living wage on a voluntary basis.
Living Wage Foundation director, Rhys Moore said: “We are delighted to welcome Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to the living wage movement as an accredited employer.
“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the living wage now. The living wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.
“We have accredited over 1,500 leading employers, including NHFT, ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and SSE.”
Healthwatch Northamptonshire, the county health watchdog said it ‘applauded’ the news.
A spokesman said: “This demonstrates a commitment to both the staff providing essential services to local people and also to the people who use the Trust’s services, some of whom are the most vulnerable in the county including people with mental health problems; learning disabilities and frail, elderly people. The trust is to be congratulated on this action.”