Mike Kelly, director and Head of Living Wage at KPMG, comments as the Living Wage Commission publishes its final report into low pay. He argues that UK businesses have a duty and responsibility to use the proposed blueprint and help lift one million UK citizens out of low pay.
Mike says: "The Living Wage Commission's report provides a clear direction for business and government to work together so that the trap of 'working poverty' can be broken. More than five million people are struggling to make ends meet, caught between holding down a job yet not being paid enough to live on. It's time that businesses put an end to this problem and take responsibility to ensure that staff and suppliers receive a fair wage."
Research conducted by Censuswide for KPMG recently revealed that just 8 percent of people think economic recovery is still fragile to justify wage increases for the lowest paid. Almost three-quarters (70 percent) also think the lowest paid should be the first to benefit, once employers examine their wage structures.
Mike Kelly continues: "As our own research suggests, the decision to pay a Living Wage should remain voluntary. However to be truly effective, it won't be enough for organisations to focus on the pay structures within their own four walls. To really make a difference, employers should work with their contractors and suppliers so that they, too, are able pay a Living Wage. After all, only when it becomes a business imperative to pay a fair wage will we be able to help millions out of the poverty trap.
"Organisations that can afford to, should offer staff and suppliers a wage that is enough to live on. Doing so affords people the opportunity to improve their work-life balance as they are not forced to work longer hours or hold down more than one job. Our own experience of offering a Living Wage has seen a rise in service standards and a fall in sickness costs. Not only is this good for individual morale, it's better for business. Put simply, the cost of improving take home pay for the lowest earners will be outweighed by the benefits of improved engagement and enhanced productivity."
KPMG's research revealed that 4 out of 10 respondents claim they will not hesitate to shop elsewhere if their preferred store or supplier doesn't pay the Living Wage.
Mike Kelly concludes: "Several years ago, no one thought that the fair trade movement would lead to a change in consumer behaviour, but the reality is that customer pressure has driven changes that have made a real difference. That's why I would like to see Living Wage accredited employers proudly displaying the Living Wage kitemark. When they do, consumers will have the choice to buy from employers who recognise that fair pay is fair play and the blueprint for lifting people out of poverty will come that bit closer to reality.
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Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
T: 020 7311 5271
M: 07917 384 576
Nahidur Rahman, KPMG Press Office
T: 020 7694 8812
M: 0788191 6975
KPMG Press Office : 020 7694 8773
Notes to Editors:
The research was conducted during the first two weeks of May 2014 and incorporates the views of 1,035 adults across the UK.
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.