More than 18,000 workers in Wales will see their pay packets rise from today as this year's real Living Wage rates are published.
The new Living Wage rates will rise to £10.90 an hour for workers in Wales and across the UK, and £11.95 for those in London.
For workers in Wales this means a 10.1% increase or extra £1 an hour - the largest year-on-year rise - and worth almost £3,000 more per year than the minimum wage.
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Around 18,600 workers at almost 500 Welsh businesses - including Redrow, Wales Millennium Centre and Burns Pet Foods - which are part of the Living Wage accreditation will benefit from the increase.
The real Living Wage is different from the UK government's National Living Wage (which is £9.50 for over 23s). Instead, the real Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay set independently and updated annually.
It is calculated based on what people need to live on according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. A full-time worker earning the new, real Living Wage would earn £2,730 a year more than a worker earning the current government minimum (NLW), and £1,950 more than their current pay.
Out of 4.8m workers paid less than the real Living Wage in the UK, around 263,000 are in Wales with 22% of all jobs in Wales paying below the real Living Wage.
However over the past year in Wales, £10.6m in extra wages has gone to low-paid workers said the initiative.
Sarah Hopkins, Cynnal Cymru director, said: “Today’s rate announcement will mean that over 18,000 workers in Wales will see their pay increased, providing a vital lifeline for these workers and their families."
She added: "We know these are difficult times for everyone, which is why it’s so encouraging to see that the number of accredited Living Wage employers across Wales continues to grow, with nearly 135 more employers in the network than last year including many SMEs and third sector organisations.
"We are here to support employers in Wales through the accreditation process because we know that paying the Living Wage brings benefits to employers as well as workers."
Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman said: “With living costs rising so rapidly, millions are facing an awful “heat or eat” choice this winter- that’s why a real Living Wage is more vital than ever. Today’s new rates will provide hundreds of thousands of workers and their families with greater security and stability during these incredibly difficult times."
Ms Chapman added: “We are facing unprecedented challenges with the cost-of-living crisis, but businesses continue to step up and support workers by signing up to the Living Wage in record numbers. We know that the Living Wage is good for employers as well as workers, that’s why the real Living Wage must continue to be at the heart of solutions to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.”
Sam, a care worker, said: "As me and my colleagues are always saying, care work is not a job you go into if you want to make a lot of money. It's a job you go into for the sheer passion and joy of working with people and the desire to help others.
"But the brutal truth of it is that as the cost of everything around us increases, wages remain the same, and all the good, passionate and selfless people have no choice but to leave a job we love, because we have families to look after and bills and rent to pay.
"A rise of £1 an hour means up to £12 extra a day, an extra £50 per week, and ultimately nearly £200 a month. In these turbulent times this means not having to choose between heating and eating. It would provide significant support during the cost-of-living crisis and at the same time, could sway people from leaving the care industry."
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