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Living Wage Vital to Tackle Health Inequality

Living Wage Foundation responds to Marmot Review 10 years on.

The Living Wage Foundation (LWF) has today responded to the publication of ‘Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On’. The report, produced by the UCL Institute of Health Equity (IHE) and The Health Foundation, examines the state of health inequalities ten years after the publication of the Marmot Review, which found that these inequities were driven by environmental factors including income and wealth levels. 

Ten years on from the Marmot Review the report finds that life expectancy in England has stalled for the first time since at least 1900.

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said:

“This report shows that pay isn’t simply about pounds and pence, it also has a huge impact on the mental and physical health of workers and their life chances. Low paid, insecure work has a corrosive effect on worker health linked to stress, anxiety and illness. Our own research found nearly 80% of low paid parents felt a Living Wage would improve their mental health. We need to see more businesses step up and commit to paying real Living Wage as part of the answer to helping to reduce long term health inequalities.”

John Hume, Chief Executive of People’s Health Trust, said,

“This hugely important report demonstrates that health inequalities are widening and life expectancy is stalling. These findings are fuelled by differences in wealth and the conditions into which people are born and live. We’re delighted that projects we fund, including the campaign for a real Living Wage, have been included in this report as examples of positive action in tackling health inequalities."

Since the campaign for a Living Wage began Living Wage Employers have uplifted nearly a quarter of a million low paid workers, putting over £1 billion back into the pockets of workers and their families. There are now over 6000 accredited Living Wage employers across the UK including households names like Aviva, Heathrow, Burberry, Everton FC, and Brewdog as well as thousands of small firms.

However, research conducted by the Living Wage Foundation found that 5.5 million people are still trapped in low paid, insecure work. As the Marmot Review made clear, the number and security of hours available to workers are also important determinants of health outcomes.

To tackle this insecurity, and its effects on the health and wellbeing of workers, the LWF has developed Living Hours, a new accreditation scheme that requires Living Wage Employers to commit to:

  • Decent notice periods for shifts: of at least 4 weeks’ notice, with guaranteed payment if shifts are cancelled within this notice period.
  • A right to a contract with living hours: the right to a contract that reflects accurate hours worked, and a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week (unless the worker requests otherwise)
25th February 2020, 01:00
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