•  Government’s national living wage implemented today
  • The Living Wage Foundation urges employers to pay above statutory requirement of £7.20
  • Petition against B&Q pay restructure now has 127,000 signatures

The Government’s living wage comes into play today but campaigners claim there is “room for some businesses to go further”. 

The statutory minimum wage of £7.20 an hour for over-25s will result in at least 1.8 million workers receiving a pay rise.

The Living Wage Foundation (LWF) estimates 2,300 employers, including Ikea, already pay above the minimum wage stipulated by the Government.

However retailers are among those set to face further pressure to raise wages further.

The LWF said “the job is not done when it comes to tackling low pay”.  

It is urging employers to implement a higher voluntary living wage of £8.25 an hour across the UK and £9.40 in London, which is calculated on the cost of living in the UK.

“Around 6 million people earn below the voluntary living wage in the UK with women, young people and part-time workers most affected by low pay,” said director of the foundation Katherine Chapman.

In light of the criticism some retailers have faced over their plans to restructure pay, pressure is on for businesses to save face not only with their employees, but with customers too.

Findings of an FTI survey of 1244 adults revealed that nearly 47% of British adults would be deterred from purchasing from a retailer who did not pay the living wage.

Meanwhile a petition started by an anonymous B&Q manager entitled ‘Don’t use living wage as excuse to cut pay and benefits’, now has over 127,000 signatures.

A spokesperson for B&Q said: “B&Q is committed to being a good payer. The majority of our employees will be unaffected or better off as a result of the changes and no one’s basic pay will be reduced.”

“90% of our customer advisers will get an increase in their basic salary on 1 April, 2016. Additionally, we are paying compensation equivalent to 12 months’ worth of any reduction in overall pay.”

Other retailers including Tesco and Wilko have also faced criticism for changes to pay.