Two of Edinburgh’s living wage employers are speaking out about “the bare minimum” respect of paying employees for their time.
“I think paying a living wage is the bottom line for employers. It’s a sign of respect to the people giving up their time and labour for your business,” said Argonaut Book’s Adam Barclay.
“Minimum wage isn’t really good enough, in my opinion. Minimum wage, I would say, is almost an insult.”
Argonaut Books on Edinburgh’s Leith Walk is one of 564 businesses in Edinburgh committed to paying staff a real, living wage.
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Adam’s bookshop launched approximately eight months ago, and since the beginning it has been a living wage employer.
“The bottom line is, if you can’t afford to pay your staff a living wage, your business is not viable. There are three main expenses as a business, and staffing is the most important. Your employees give up time out of their lives to help with your business, the least they deserve is a paycheck they can live on,” he said.
Maison de Moggy, an Edinburgh business and Scotland's first cat cafe, is also a living wage employer.
“As small business owners, my husband and I are close to the team and recognise how hard they work,” Laura, of Moggy’s said.
“It's important to us to pay a real living wage so our staff aren't having to worry or look for second jobs to support themselves. It means that our business has had to adapt to keep pace with the cost-of-living crisis with the increase in staffing costs, utilities, and everything else.”
Last November, the city of Edinburgh was awarded Living Wage City status “in recognition of the Scottish Capital’s ambition to [...] double the number of Living Wage accredited businesses to over 900 across the city over the next few years.”
In celebration of this year's Living Wage week, the City of Edinburgh Council highlighted more than a hundred businesses like Argonaut Books and Maison de Moggy who have committed to paying the real living wage.
“In November 2021 Edinburgh was accredited as a Living Wage City,” the council tweeted.
“Since then the project has encouraged 116 Edinburgh businesses to commit to paying the real living wage, a rate of accreditation well above any previous year on record.”
The UK’s current national minimum wage is currently £9.50 for those aged 23 years and over.
However, Scottish Living Wage says the real Living Wage is different to the UK government’s National Living Wage “which is not calculated according to what employees need to live on.”
The Scottish Living Wage foundation said the current real Living Wage is £10.90 (£11.95 in London) and applies to all employees aged 18 and over.
“The real Living Wage is an independently calculated rate based on the cost of living and is paid voluntarily by employers. The rate is currently £10.90 and is calculated annually by The Resolution Foundation,” Scottish Living Wage explained.
The UK’s national living wage is set to increase to £10.42 from April 2023.
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