Living Wage Week 9-15 November 2020
The Real Living Wage has just been set at £9.50 an hour, which is significantly higher than the government minimum for over 25s, currently standing at £8.72 per hour.
Why is TBLA a Living Wage Employer?
As an accountancy firm advocating a “triple bottom line” we think about the environment and community as well as prosperity in business. The Triple Bottom Line Accounting community starts with our own team, making sure that everyone who works for us is paid well. The Real Living Wage is an absolute minimum on our pay scales. We don’t make significant profit margins, but we do plough back our surplus into paying for a lovely office within a friendly environment, supplying all employees with the equipment to work from home or in the office safely and ergonomically.
We believe that having respect and caring for each other is key to our wellbeing. However, we don’t work solely for the money that we earn; work has to have a soul and meaning to us. We are motivated by the principles set by the Economy for the Common Good. These include human dignity in the workplace and working environment; self-determined working arrangements; environmentally friendly behaviour of staff and co-determination and transparency within the organisation. Working time is time spent living. Working time should be rewarding from an economic perspective but also allow for a fulfilling life outside of work.
Future Radio Roundtable Panel: The Real Living Wage & UBI
Since being interviewed on Radio Norfolk and by the EADT business section earlier this year about Universal Basic Income (UBI) (see previous blog), Peter was invited to contribute to a Living Wage Roundtable, hosted by Future Radio. Future Radio has been featuring a series of events to draw attention to Living Wage Week. The panel featured local experts and key figures in the Living Wage debate. They discussed and debated issues surrounding the Living Wage rate of pay, the premise of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), the impact of Covid-19, and the importance of fairness and equality in employment practices.
What we said about the Real Living Wage
Peter was asked questions about the benefits of paying employees a living wage which is currently £9.50 an hour for all employees 18 years and older (£10.85 in London). He used the example of the bookkeeper in an accountancy practice tending to be the lowest paid, but whose role is integral to the whole business. By paying our bookkeeper the real living wage (as well as employee benefits such as Climate Perks, AAT tuition fees, and medical insurance), the company benefits from a motivated, fulfilled and proactive member of the team.
What we said about UBI
When questioned about UBI, Peter said: “I start with the word ‘trust'”. After the Finland trial of 2017, the recipients of UBI said they had more trust towards social institutions and their government. Peter cited the example of recent pandemic-related government grants and schemes designed to keep the economy going. These schemes, intending to relieve hardship during the pandemic, have helped many businesses, but countless individuals have missed out. If you didn’t happen to be on a payroll in March (or currently in September) or did not file a tax return for 2019/ 2020 you missed out. The difference of having a business in March 2020 or April 2020 means you are supported, or not. So, a lot of unlucky people have lost trust in this government. A Universal Basic Income would be fairer and win back that trust. There are many inter-related challenges that we as a society face today. There is a mental health crisis, pandemic crisis and the climate crisis. UBI would restore people’s faith in society and enable everyone to work together to deal with these crises. They would think: “we actually are all in this together – we need to work together towards the solutions”.
UBI as part of a new approach to capitalism and the climate crisis
Peter talked about the difference between greed-based capitalism and stakeholder capitalism. Peter was asked about the danger of the UK losing its competitive edge. “Might UBI lure us out of the race to be the best, to compete on a global scale, if people were not focused on improving products or the value of their business?” Peter disagreed referring to “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think“. “There is enough money in the world to go round if distributed fairly”. We need to tackle greed-based capitalism if we are to deal with the climate emergency. We need to move away from this paradigm where competitive capitalism is causing a “race to the bottom – to the end of humanity” and ecological disaster. A fair distribution of wealth, a fair income would help prevent this race to the bottom.
Daniel Childerhouse – Chief Executive Officer of Future Projects and Chair of Living Wage Norwich
Alan Waters – Leader of Norwich City Council
Peter Ellington – Director of Triple Bottom Line Accounting and Associate Professor at the University of East Anglia
Lorna Moss – Aviva UK
Catherine Waddams – Emeritus Professor at the University of East Anglia and Chair of the Norwich Good Economy Commission
Rebecca Headden – Founder and Director of R13 Recruitment