Today Museums Galleries Scotland is celebrating becoming a Living Wage employer. This means that as an organisation we’ve made a commitment to ensure that our staff or any contractors working for us are paid a minimum of £8.45 an hour. The real Living Wage is calculated annually, and based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK. Employers choose to pay this on a voluntary basis.
We wanted to ensure that we are properly recognising the efforts of our staff and also hope that we can encourage other organisations in the cultural sector in Scotland to follow suit, which is why we’ve asked The Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative to explain how you can become an accredited employer too.
The number of organisations achieving accreditation as a Living Wage employer is increasing at speed – with over 750 employers accredited in Scotland and over 3000 accredited across the UK. These employers are recognising that there are a myriad of reasons to commit to paying workers a real Living Wage, and accreditation offers public recognition of this commitment.
Museum Galleries Scotland becoming a Living Wage Employer is a step to be congratulated, particularly given their role as the National Development Body for the museum sector in Scotland. The real Living Wage is an important consideration for Scotland’s culture and heritage sector, as it directly employs around 10,720 people, and of these 3,810 are employed by museums.
£8.45 per hour has been set as the minimum amount per hour needed to live a decent life, yet in Scotland, 1 in 5 workers receive less than the real Living Wage. Not paying the Living Wage means less hope of tackling in-work poverty. This is particularly important for the museum sector, as almost every geographic community hosts a museum or has access to one. Living Wage accreditation is an unambiguous statement to the wider public of being a fair dealing employer. This is a really positive message to send to the communities in which museums are placed, and can help attract more custom.
More crucially for the museum sector where the challenge to remain financially viable is ever present; there is a strong business case for Living Wage. Workers receiving at least the Living Wage are happier, more productive, less stressed and less likely to be absent. Happy employees tend to stay put a bit longer too, resulting in reduced turnover and training costs.
On a wider scale, commitment to the Living Wage can drive economic growth. More money in people’s pockets to spend locally is a virtuous cycle. In short, the Living Wage is good for people, good for business and good for society.