Methodist Church in UK will pay all employees at least living wage
The Methodist Church in the UK is paying all its employees amuch higher rate than the UK’s current legal minimum wage.
The Living Wage was implemented on Sept. 1 this year, and ensures that church workers will be paid at least $13.25 hourly in London and $12.13 hourly outside of London. The UK legal minimum wage is $5.80 for school leavers and $9.47 for those aged 21 and above.
The purpose of a Living Wage is to allow workers to enjoy a full life while working full time. The wage should allow, for example, one to have enough income to pay for the clothes children will wear to school, fund some school trips, and have time to spend with one’s family.
The Living Wage is determined annually by the independent charity, Church Action on Poverty. The CAP website says, “We believe that it is the church’s moral responsibility to take a lead by paying all their employees a Living Wage, not the minimum wage.”
The Methodist Church is the first major denomination to oblige all its churches, circuits, projects and districts to pay the Living Wage by the end of financial year 2010-2011, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Other denominations expressed support for the Living Wage and are at different stages in trying to implement it. They include the Baptists, Church of Scotland, United Reformed Church, Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and The Society of Friends. Several theologians and activists also support the Living Wage.
“As Christians, we care deeply about justice and fairness,” Rev. Leo Osborn, head of the Methodist Conference, told Independent Catholic News. “A long-hours low-pay culture can be found up and down our nation. The reality of low-paid work for many is very long hours and multiple jobs, leaving little time for family, community or leisure. In a fractured society where family and community matter more than ever, paying the Living Wage is one practical way of showing a commitment to these aspects of life.”
The Methodist Church researched extensively before passing the Living Wage. Carmila Legarda, director of Development and Personnel told ICN, “We have encouraged our churches to pay staff a Living Wage for a number of years and we finally made it our policy after extensive research to ensure it would be affordable and deliverable.”
Legarda told ICN, “Justice for our workers was the key reason for this policy, but another major factor was our understanding that by paying church workers a decent wage we would be helping them to be more effective employees. There may be added costs but we believe that it’s money well spent.”
Church Action on Poverty, a national ecumenical Christian organization for social justice, expressed delight with the latest move by the Methodist Church.
Niall Cooper, coordinator of CAP told ICN, “We are delighted that the idea of the Living Wage is gaining momentum within Churches and faith groups and this step from the Methodist Church is a clear endorsement of that. We now hope that other denominations, charities and employers more generally follow the example of the Methodist Church in signing up as Living Wage employers.”
CAP partners with churches and people living in poverty to help develop ways to resolve the difficulties that people living in poverty must deal with both in the UK and overseas.