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1 in 5 UK employees is paid below living wage

A study by the Resolution Foundation has uncovered the fact that one in every five UK employees is being paid below the living wage.

A living wage is defined as one that is high enough to allow you to maintain the normal standard of living. Those paid below the living wage would struggle to do this and as such may find themselves living in poverty.

The issue however is more evident in women than men, with a quarter of all women receiving pay below the living wage, while the figure for men is 10pc less, at 15pc. These figures are up from 18pc for women and 11pc for men in 2009.

The living wage should not be confused with minimum wage, something that employers must pay to their staff by law. Instead, it is calculated based on a number of measures including the cost of living, inflation, and in some cases, geographical location. For example, the average living wage in the UK is £7.45 an hour, while in London it is £8.55. It is up to employers whether they pay their staff the living wage or not.

Author of the report, Matthew Whittaker, said: “For most of the working population real wages have been flat or declining for many years and as a result more and more people have dipped below the level of living wage.

“Britain has a sorry story to tell on low pay. Only a handful of our close competitors do worse, and the large majority have much lower rates of low pay – sometimes half as much”

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