Do you think pay should cover the basic cost of living?

So do we. But for over 5 million people in the UK today, that’s not reality.

Every day we hear stories from people struggling on minimum wages. They’re making stark choices between the bare essentials of living; choices that no one should have to make.

  • Do I eat tonight or do I heat my home?
  • Do I pay for the nightbus after my shift or do I walk home to save for my child’s uniform?
  • How do I tell my friend I can’t come to his birthday party because I can’t afford the bus fare?

Together, we can change this.

We’re the Living Wage Foundation, the national charity which promotes the Living Wage and awards employers who pay it with the Living Wage Employer Mark.

The Living Wage rates are currently £8.45 outside London and £9.75 inside.

They are calculated according to the real cost of living, including food, fuel, childcare and more. This is different to the government minimum rate for 25s and over, called the ‘national living wage’, which is not calculated in the same way.

People power is the heart of the Living Wage campaign.

Back in 2001, parents in East London grew frustrated with working multiple minimum wage jobs but still not earning enough to make ends meet. Those parents came together with the support of Citizens UK and took action, winning major victories and setting up the Living Wage Foundation to take their hard work further.

There are still over 6 million people in the UK today struggling on minimum wages. But there’s good news too: thousands of us are ready and willing to take action to end this.

By signing up to our pledge, you’ll be a vital part of the new movement to end UK poverty. There are lots of opportunities for action – check out some of the people already doing amazing things over on our Campaign Groups page.

Still have questions? Check out the FAQs below. And remember: sign the pledge today and be part of the movement which ends those stark choices once and for all.



The real Living Wage is independently calculated to reflect the living costs in the UK.  Nearly 3000 UK businesses go further to voluntarily pay the real Living Wage and not just the government minimum because these rates are based on the cost of living. The rates are announced annually in the first week of November. As of 31st October 2016, they are £8.45 outside London and £9.75 inside.

The Living Wage Commission was set up in January 2016 to oversee the calculation of the Living Wage rates in London and the UK.

The Commission, drawn from leading Living Wage accredited employers, trade unions, civil society and independent experts, supports and promotes the goals of the Living Wage as an attainable benchmark for employers committed to ensuring their employees earn a wage that meets the real cost of essential goods and services.

The Living Wage is set by a formula based on what happens to living standards from one year to the next. The Commission provides a transparent decision-making forum to resolve specific judgements about how to incorporate policy changes and new sources of data into the calculation. It also advises on how to manage extreme year-to-year variations from general rises in living costs.

The Commission is appointed by the Living Wage Foundation.


  • Gavin Kelly, Chief Executive, Resolution Trust (chair)
  • Dame Fiona Kendrick, Chairman and Chief Executive, Nestlé UK and Ireland
  • Alison Robb, Group Director, Nationwide
  • James Watt, Captain and Co-Founder, Brew Dog UK
  • Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress
  • Julia Unwin, Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Jayne Dowden, Chief Operating Officer, Cardiff University
  • Bishop Rob Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton, Diocese of London
  • Professor Paul Gregg, Director of the Centre for Analysis and Social Policy, University of Bath
  • Joanne McCartney, Deputy Mayor of London



  • To oversee the calculation of the independent Living Wage rates in London and the UK.


  • To produce robust and sustainable Living Wage rates, based on best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK.

Areas of Responsibility

  • To provide robust, independent direction on the calculation of the Living Wage rates.
  •  To make judgements about how to incorporate policy changes and new sources of data into the calculation.
  •  To keep the methodology under review to ensure the Living Wage remains fully representative of life in the UK today and uses the most up-to-date data available on the cost of living.

Areas of Activity

  • Meet as required to review progress against purpose and aims.
  • Consult and take evidence from key stakeholders on the potential impact of policy and cost of living trends on the rates.
  • Undertake and commission projects and research as appropriate.
  • Make recommendations to the Living Wage Foundation on matters relating to the methodology.


We work hard with employers to ensure that if they’re introducing the Living Wage, they do it with their workers’ best interests at heart. That means we encourage against job or hours losses and the loss of other important benefits which employees actively want to keep.
The real Living Wage is independently calculated and based on living costs. This rate is paid voluntarily by 3000 UK businesses who choose to go further that the government minimum. The real Living Wage is about £2000 higher than the government minimum in the UK and about £4000 higher in London.

In July 2015, the government announced a new minimum wage rate for people aged 25 and over and they called it the ‘national living wage’. It was a welcome pay rise for low paid workers but it still isn’t linked to cost of living and therefore isn’t a real Living Wage.

The real Living Wage is applicable to all over 18; has a London weighted rate; and is calculated according to the cost of living. Paying it shows that an employer wants to go above and beyond basic legal requirements in order to invest in its people, help end in-work poverty and reap business benefits.

Nearly 3000 employers are Living Wage accredited, and nearly 1000 of those have done it in the past year which shows this movement is growing. They range across the public, private and third sectors and also in size, from independent one-off bookshops and cafes to major corporations like Google and Burberry. You can see which ones are accredited by going here or you can search our employer map.
Our employers go Living Wage for a number of reasons, including: to get the business benefits associated, like lower absenteeism and turnover and higher productivity; to show responsible leadership; to differentiate from competitors or in bids; and simply, because they know their people are the lifeblood of their work and they want to do the right thing.
No, Living Wage accreditation solely focuses on pay. We know there’s lots more to think about in relation to dignity at work and we support other initiatives and employers taking action on wider issues – but our special mission is to get more pay in the pockets of UK workers.
We collect only the information you provide to us, for example when signing up as a supporter, taking part in an action, donating to us, making an enquiry or using geolocation.

How do you use my information?

The information we collect may include among other details your name, address, email address, whether you earn below the current Living Wage rates, your reason for signing the Living Wage pledge and your involvement in the Living Wage Foundation’s campaigns or activities.

We use the information received to keep you informed about our campaigns and activities, respond to queries, identify people in specific geographical areas to send targeted bulletins about activities in those areas and to solicit support. We may also use aggregate information for reporting purposes but this will not include your personal data.

Do you protect my data?

We take good care to ensure that the information we store on our database is kept safe in order to prevent unauthorised access and comply with the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998. We will not pass on or sell the information to others, except if we are required to do so by law.

How can find out what information you hold about me?

You are free to get in touch and ask what information we are holding about you. We will correct data or erase it if requested. If you have any questions or concerns about this policy please contact us by emailing [email protected]

How can I stop the Living Wage Foundation from contacting me?

Please use the unsubscribe option at the bottom of the latest bulletin you’ve received. You can also contact us at [email protected] to request that we cease mailings to you.

Do you use ‘cookies’ on this site?

Currently we do not use cookies on our website. We may revise our policy from time to time and if so, will post any changes we make on this page.

Disclaimer: The Living Wage Foundation accepts no responsibility for any loss or adverse consequences arising from pursuing any activity mentioned in this website. We do not send out random, untargeted emails (spam). If we send you unsolicited emails, the email will enable you to register an opt-out to receiving other emails from us.

You are welcome to use any text written by the Living Wage Foundation found on this website, especially if you are using it to support the cause of the Living Wage. However we do require that you cite us for any material you use, crediting the Living Wage Foundation. If you need further details please contact us. For images, please contact us notifying us of which image(s) you would like to use and we will let you know whether this is possible and what citation you need to credit the image with.

Not found what you’re looking for? Check out the FAQs over on our employer site for lots more information on accreditation.