Advanced search

to judge an employer that doesn't pay at least a living wage?

(82 Posts)
Objection Fri 02-May-14 15:03:50

I am passively job hunting at the moment and have noticed a huge amount of jobs that are paid below a living wage - I can't help but give a mental black mark against the companies that don't pay their staff a living wage.

I'm trying to think of why it would be acceptable; a job is a job, after all and employees are free to leave (though not much of an argument), and small independent companies may not have a big enough budgets...
but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
AIBU to immediately judge a company for paying so little?

[expecting to be told I am!]

LuisSuarezTeeth Fri 02-May-14 15:07:30

Depends what you class as a living wage?

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Fri 02-May-14 15:09:18

I do. Where any employer pays less than a living wage the employee qualifies for tax-credits. Ergo it's the employer who's dependent on welfare rather than the employee.

I read somewhere that the number of Walmart employees in the US who qualify for welfare while working full-time for them is astronomical. That does not a good employer make.

RufusTheReindeer Fri 02-May-14 15:09:40

I get paid minimum wage

I work for a county council

I would agree it really depends on what your idea of living wage is

LuisSuarezTeeth Fri 02-May-14 15:20:40


LuisSuarezTeeth Fri 02-May-14 15:23:14

also interesting

kukeslala Fri 02-May-14 15:34:28

I think you are and are not being unreasonable (its not like me to sit on the fence)...
A "living wage" would be different for different people, which is one thing to think about.
Also even if NMW was increased there will always be people earning more than you, therefore I would think there would always be people thinking the NMW should be increased.
I also think as consumers we need to be aware of how/where we choose to shop (if able to financially), and what we expect from where we are shopping. E.g. a local independent shop does not have the same buying power as any of the big 4, also its less likely to be able to take the hit on loss leaders etc, its also less likely to be able to get as good rates on things like insurance etc.

However if/when a business is able it actually makes sense for the business to pay a decent wage and have perks etc, on the whole happier staff, who will feel valued, It also has a positive impact on the financial side means less staff turnover, having good staff who know and can do their job well.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 02-May-14 15:38:25

A living wage in Bristol is different to a living wage in Hull, so really, YABU as a national employer is tied pretty much to paying their employees the same.

Also, I assume these companies are at least paying Minimum Wage?

Objection Fri 02-May-14 15:38:25

£7.65ph or £8.80 in London smile

crazyspaniel Fri 02-May-14 15:43:36

Depends on the company. When you get a company like Tesco which pays minimum wage - or even nothing at all - and expects the taxpayer to massively subsidise its wage bill through tax credits and workfare, all the while raking in millions in profit, then feel free to judge away.

googoodolly Fri 02-May-14 15:47:22

It's different per area, though. Living in Sussex is more expensive than living in Hull, for example, but if you own a national chain, you can't pay employees in one store more/hour than the employees in another for doing the same job, just because they live in a different area.

I work for a national supermarket chain and I earn £6.67 an hour. I work 23 hours a week and if I was single I would qualify for tax credits. But, DP works and together we earn about £200 over the limit for them, so we're a bit stuck. I agree NMW should be higher but whatever you put it at, some people will be poor.

whois Fri 02-May-14 15:52:18

but if you own a national chain, you can't pay employees in one store more/hour than the employees in another for doing the same job

Uh, yes you can.

kukeslala Fri 02-May-14 16:05:32

But even the living wage which you have linked which gives a wage for London and another for everywhere else doesn't "work", not every place outside of London costs the same to live.

whois Fri 02-May-14 16:11:53

I would classify a living wage as one where you are not subbed by WTC or similar.

I do think it's criminal that the tax payers subsidise Tesco and other companies profits via WTC.

mrsbucketxx Fri 02-May-14 16:14:28

wow you wont be working for any small companies then?

if i employed someone it would be at minimum wage i couldn't afford anything else.

try running your own business and still say the same thing


Cornettoninja Fri 02-May-14 16:22:41

Tbf mrsbucket, the op's argument has two sides, why doesn't the minimum wage cover average living costs. There are definitely two ways to approach the argument.

Either tax payers are subsidising companies or tax payers are actually lining the pockets of energy companies, transport etc twice over through taxation.

Either way somebody is undeniably making money out of people if working a minimum wage is entitled to benefits by the governments own calculations.

BackforGood Fri 02-May-14 16:25:24

I too think YABU.
There is a NMW - if you think this is not high enough, then that's a different debate, and one which you could campaign about. It seems odd to have a random selection of figures that are called the living wage, when anyone, or any company is of course free to pay more than the NMW if they want to. There isn't one single 'living wage' figure, there are those "worked out" by different organisations, but, as others have said it is very, very dependent on where in the country you are as to what will give you a basic, or comfortable standard of living.

For a lot of companies, wages going up would tip the balance so that it means they can employ fewer people - I suspect if you did a poll of that workforce, they'd generally rather stick with NMW and a job, than have some people get a few pence more per hour, but some then lose their jobs, and of course the ones who are getting the small extra amounts would have to cover the work of those made redundant.

It's never that simple and straight forwards for a simple statement to be right for everyone.

Objection Fri 02-May-14 16:27:31

Would a rule that states minimum wage is acceptable for companies with a turnover of £300,000 or less (for example) be a fair compromise, I wonder? Because the current system certainly doesn't seem fair.

mrsbucketxx Fri 02-May-14 16:30:42

for small companies

you have to pay

rent (silly money everywhere)
corp tax
vat (if your not registered)
accountants fees
gas (if any)
business rates
stock which varies

that's before salaries which you need to keep as low as possible.

YABU massively

Chocolateisa7adayfood Fri 02-May-14 16:32:49

When you say a living wage do you mean the national minimum wage? It's the legal minimum so in theory you should be able to live on it. Must be a struggle though. Also depends if you are full time or part time. Most part time jobs don't pay a living wage but being part time is a choice for most peoplr. Is the problem that the hourly rate isn't high enough, or you don't work enough hours? Or is it a zero hours contract? If so, YADNBU.

kukeslala Fri 02-May-14 16:42:14

objection- I'm not sure it would be fair to base on turnover, direct costs and operating expenses would vary massively between companies depending on the business they are in.

kukeslala Fri 02-May-14 16:44:29

chocolate- some smaller companies could only operate especially at the start by using zero hour/very low hour contracts.

WooWooOwl Fri 02-May-14 17:16:44


A living wage for a single person living in London with their three children is going to be very different to a living wage for a single 20 something who lives with their parents.

The whole thing about a living wage makes no sense. Before people start banging on about a living wage we need to decide exactly what a living wage should include.

I don't judge big companies for only paying NMW as long as they are fair employers who offer training and progression. I know some small employers simply couldn't afford to pay any more than NMW, so would end up employing no one or less people if their wage bill was forced up.

msscoob Fri 02-May-14 17:25:02

Im on the fence. Small companies maybe but when big well known companies are making billions of pounds of profit each year and yet are having their employees wages subsidised by the government that seems wrong to me.

Maybe once a companies hit a certain profit margin they should be made to pay their own wages to their staff? Its a tough one though as in the case of supermarkets they are raking it in, paying their employees a pittance and making money from tax credits and free welfare reform labour. However if the government tried to make them stump up the wages no doubt food prices would go through the roof!

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 02-May-14 18:13:09

Some jobs simply dont demand a high wage and if they paid more other jobs would have silly wages.

A living wage varies wildy between people. Some expect it to support two adults and numerous children whilst others are single etc.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: