Voluntary Living Wage

Voluntary Living Wage

People are our most valuable asset, and the University, is committed to providing pay and benefits, conditions of employment and working environments that maintain its position as an attractive employer, locally, nationally and internationally.

The University pays the equivalent of the Voluntary Living Wage

For the 2018/19 pay round, the University awarded a 2.0% uplift for staff represented by the UNISON and Unite trade unions, with higher increases for staff up to pay point 15.

The minimum staff salary for 2018/19 is equivalent to the latest Voluntary Living Wage rate of £9.00 per hour - payable from 1 December 2018. The University meets the £9.00 per hour Voluntary Living Wage Foundation rate for pay spines 3, 4 and 5 through additional pay enhancements.

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 will remain committed to its longstanding position of fair reward for our lowest paid staff, although, for the reasons set out below, it does not seek formal accreditation as a Voluntary Living Wage employer.

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, the University does not seek formal accreditation as a Voluntary Living Wage employer.

This is because the 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 the 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 the University currently ensures all staff on pay framework are paid the equivalent to the latest Voluntary Living Wage rate of £9.00 per hour, and remains 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, the University took the decision to pay this rate as the ‘minimum’ rate for all University staff of any age - casual and permanent - rather than only to staff aged 25 and over, as required by the legislation.