The number of legal employers committed to paying workers an independently assessed ‘living wage’ has nearly trebled in the past two years.
There are now 91 law firms, barristers chambers and related organisations signed up to the fair pay scheme run by charity the Living Wage Foundation. The commitment also encompasses onsite contractors.
The LWF now has nearly 3,000 accredited organisations, many in the public or third sectors. But lawyers have been at the forefront of efforts in the private sector to establish a sustainable minimum.
Yesterday, to coincide with Living Wage Week, the foundation announced increases to its recommended rates. This have risen by 3.7% in London, from £9.40 to £9.75, and 2.4% outside the capital, from £8.25 to £8.45. One in five UK employees continues to earn less than these amounts, according to research by KPMG.
The foundation’s fair pay rates compare with a government minimum of £7.20 for over 25s.
Legal sector signatories include all the magic circle firms except Freshfields - Linklaters is one of the scheme’s principal partners - and most of the UK top-20 ranked by revenue. The law societies of England and Wales, and Scotland are accredited, as is the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.
Barristers’ chambers to have signed up with the LWF include Matrix, Blackstone, Outer Temple and Landmark.
New signatories in the last week have included international giant DLA Piper and Attwells Solicitors of Suffolk and London.
Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman said: ‘The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the living wage now. The living wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.
’[Accredited] businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that.’