Voluntary Living Wage
Our people are our most valuable asset as a University, and we are committed to providing pay and benefits, conditions of employment and working environments that maintain our position as an attractive employer, locally, nationally and internationally.
The University pays the equivalent of the Voluntary Living Wage
The most recent (2016) pay award means that all staff on our pay framework are paid at least in line with the Voluntary Living Wage rate that applied on 1 August 2016. Although the 2017 pay negotiations are continuing, we will ensure that staff on our pay framework will again be paid at least in line with the Voluntary Living Wage rate that applied on 1 August 2017. Please see the following section for information on why the 1 August is a key date for the University’s pay structure.
Staff are also offered a range of benefits that rival those of many major employers, including: pension, enhanced annual leave, and sick pay; maternity, paternity and adoption leave; access to dental, medical and optical services; as well as a range of discounts from major retailers and transport providers.
The University’s position on the Voluntary Living Wage
It is for individual employers to consider whether to adopt the Voluntary Living Wage, and like more than 75% of higher education institutions, we have not as yet signed up to be a Voluntary Living Wage employer.
This is because our primary responsibility is to deliver fair pay settlements and ensure financial stability across the University, to benefit all of our 8,000 staff and 45,000 students. Adopting external pay frameworks such as the Voluntary Living Wage could restrict our flexibility and ability to deliver that financial stability in an increasingly competitive and changing higher education environment.
There are also practical difficulties. The Living Wage Foundation announces the Voluntary Living Wage rate each November for implementation by the following April, whereas universities’ pay rates for all staff are negotiated and aligned with the beginning of their financial years which commence in August.
However, as noted above we will ensure all staff on our pay framework are paid at least in line with the Voluntary Living Wage when the 2017 pay award is applied, and we remain in dialogue with staff representatives and campaigners.
National Living Wage
The Government's compulsory National Living Wage - which is unconnected to the Voluntary Living Wage - was introduced in April 2016 and sets a minimum rate of pay for workers aged 25 and over.
At the time, we took the decision to pay this rate as our ‘minimum’ rate for all University staff of any age - casual and permanent - rather than only to staff aged 25 and over.