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Why we became a Living Wage Friendly Funder

Régis Cochefert, Director, Grants and Programmes

Régis Cochefert, Director, Grants and Programmes at Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF), talks about our journey from Living Wage Employer to Living Wage Friendly Funder.

Social Justice is close to our hearts at PHF. So the opportunity to be a funder that takes responsibility for enabling organisations to meet the cost of living is something that is in line with our values and consistent with our own standards as an employer.

According to the Living Wage Foundation, 22% of all workers still do not earn a real living wage – i.e. an independently calculated rate of pay that people need to earn to be able to live. Earning less than the real living wage can lead to increased stress (financial and otherwise) and exacerbates social problems. As a funder committed to helping more people to realise their potential and overcome barriers, we want to do what we can to support the Living Wage campaign.

Having already taken the first step on our journey by becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer, we felt that the next logical move was to become a Living Wage Friendly Funder and we were pleased to be recognised as such by the Living Wage Foundation in August. This takes our commitment up a level, as we now not only pledge to pay staff and contractors at least the real living wage, but also to support our grantees to do the same, where possible. Going forward, applicants asking us to fund salaries or staff time are encouraged to cost this at the real Living Wage rate as a minimum. We want organisations to know that we see responsible pay as a sign of good management and part of the wider effort to ensure a thriving voluntary and community sector.

Crucially, though, if organisations aren’t able to pay the Living Wage for any reason (for example, part-funded posts or too many people at a particular pay grade outside of a specific funding application) this does not mean that we won’t fund these applications. It simply means that we want to fund at the Living Wage wherever possible.

Our status as a Living Wage Friendly Funder is therefore very much about supporting organisations and individuals approaching us for funding to embark on their own Living Wage journey, if it’s possible for them.

We look forward to playing our part in improving the lives of those working within our sector, working alongside other funders who have already committed to fund at the Living Wage. We hope that our support, as a Living Wage Friendly Funder, allows applicants to our Funds to consider taking steps in the same direction.

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