Good Business Charter real living wage feature image

Real living wage

The GBC requires all employers to pay directly employed staff and regular contracted staff the real living wage as set out by the Living Wage Foundation and commit to becoming an accredited living wage employer within a mutually agreed time frame.

What it is

The real living wage is a UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.

In 2016 the government introduced the National Living Wage. This is not a living wage as it isn’t calculated based on actual living costs.

The current real living wage (as of November 2019) is £9.30 across the UK and £10.75 in London.

Why it matters

Low paid workers who receive the real living wage find they do not need to worry about affording the basics, and can even potentially save a little. Together with the Living Wage Foundation, we believe it is fair pay for hard work.

The Living Wage Foundation reports that living wage employers have found that being accredited improves the reputation of their businesses and differentiates them from others in the industry.

They have found that it increases motivation and retention rates for employees. It also improves relations between managers and their staff.


To receive Good Business Charter accreditation, businesses will be asked if they are already accredited living wage employers. If they are not currently living wage employers, they will be expected to contact the Living Wage Foundation within three months of signing up to the GBC to confirm their commitment and a timeframe for accreditation. This will include a plan with annual milestones for rolling out across contractors over an agreed timeline (including franchisees’ employees where relevant).

Although signatories to the real living wage commitment will be entitled to use the GBC logo and will be accredited by them, the LWF logo will only be allowed to be used once companies complete their accreditation with the LWF. If a company fails to contact the LWF or follow through on its commitments to become an accredited Living Wage employer within an agreed timeframe, it forfeits the right to be a signatory of the Good Business Charter.

The Good Business Charter team will work closely with the Living Wage Foundation to ensure companies fulfil their commitments to contact the Living Wage Foundation and begin the accreditation process.


There are costs associated with Living Wage Foundation accreditation but these are kept low and we hope they will not be a barrier to GBC accreditation.  They are as follows (2020):

£60 – sole trader up to 10 employees            £120 – up to 50 employees

£240 – 50-250 employees                                £400 – up to 500 employees

£500 – cap for public sector                            £3,000 – 500 + employees, private sector

The Living Wage Foundation has offered a 20% discount per year for new members who are accrediting with them as a result of seeking GBC accreditation.

For more information please see

In exceptional circumstances the Good Business Charter may accredit an organisation without them being required to officially join the Living Wage Foundation as Living Wage Employers on the strict condition that they do meet the condition to pay all directly employed workers, franchise employees (when relevant) and regularly outsourced contractors the real living wage.  Such a situation may arise where the LWF takes a stance on a particular situation that represents a higher threshold than the GBC considers necessary, for example treatment of interns where other benefits are afforded them alongside their wages.

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