UCL celebrates London Living Wage accreditation

UCL has been officially recognised as a Living Wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation, in line with its commitment to equality.

While UCL has long paid all staff at least the London Living Wage (LLW) - including interns and contractors - the official status means this requirement is now incorporated into standard terms and conditions for all its external suppliers.

The LLW is voluntarily paid by organisations to ensure a pay rate that is fair and reflects what people need to live.

As part of the accreditation application - which was a joint effort between colleagues across HR, Commercial & Procurement Services, and Sustainability - UCL reviewed the pay and benefits of all staff working at the university through an external supplier.

While the vast majority were already paid LLW or above, approximately 320 individuals were found to not yet be receiving this payment. UCL worked with suppliers to ensure these rates were increased to LLW with immediate effect.

The endorsement enshrines UCL and its suppliers’ commitment to pay at least the LLW (as updated by the Living Wage Foundation each November), to any person that works on a UCL site for two hours or more for at least eight consecutive weeks.

Following a 3.1% rise to UCL’s lowest spine point (5) from August 2021, staff are now paid at least 11.35 per hour, which is nearly 5% above the current LLW rate of 10.85.

Matthew Blain, UCL’s Chief People Officer, said: "UCL strongly supports the societal benefits outlined by the Living Wage Foundation; the London Living Wage is a ’real’ wage that should allow a person to meet living costs.

"Our accreditation now guarantees that we and our suppliers will continue to pay at or above the London Living Wage for anyone who is in scope.

"Coupled with the investment we’ve already made to harmonise the pay and benefits such as holidays or pensions of outsourced staff, and the recent flat rate increase to London allowance for all staff, this has been part of a deliberate move to embed social purpose into our reward structures and ensure better terms and conditions for our lower paid colleagues."

The LLW is higher than the National Living Wage of 9.50 per hour, in recognition of the high costs of living in the capital. Both rates are significantly higher than the government minimum for over 23s of 8.91 per hour.

UCL has been paying all interns the LLW since 2014.

There are more than 8,000 accredited Living Wage Employers in the UK, including 129 in higher education. A recent report found that wider adoption of the real Living Wage could boost the UK economy by over 1.5bn.