Everton Football Club has pledged to pay all of its staff nothing less than the 'living wage', becoming only the second Premier League club after Chelsea to do so.
The Merseyside team is now set to be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF). This year's minimum rate has been set at £9.75 per hour in London, and £8.45 in the rest of the UK, based on a calculation of how much employees and their dependents need to live a quality life.
According to The Guardian, a mere five clubs – also including Derby County, Heart of Midlothian and Luton Town – are fully accredited by the LWF. The teams in England's top division have come in for criticism in recent years for the disparity between the lavish wages given to their players, and the fact many of their other staff are barely earning enough to support themselves.
Everton has already given 250 staff a pay rise which brings them to the living wage. The increases that will be given to over more 700 contractors over the next three years could mean an annual pay rise of as much as £2,000 per year for each. The British Library, RSA Insurance Group, Curzon Cinemas and law firm DLA Piper International also joined Everton in making the commitment to the newly-announced rate.
Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, deputy chief executive and director at Everton, said:
“Here at Everton we are committed to being a first choice employer and becoming Living Wage accredited is a natural step towards that. We have been working hard behind the scenes and consulting with our staff and stakeholders; it is extremely important to us that we treat all of our colleagues well and reward people fairly in terms of their pay. Supporting the accredited Living Wage is quite simply the right thing to do; it improves our employees’ quality of life but also benefits our business and society as a whole.
Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman welcomed the move:
“We are delighted that Everton Football Club have become the second Premier League football club to sign up as a Living Wage employer, ensuring that all their staff – from caterers to match day staff – receive a real Living Wage that covers the cost of living.
“By putting more pounds in the pockets of their staff, Everton are signing up to a win-win scenario that rewards a hard day's work with a fair day's pay. I congratulate Everton and hope other football clubs will take their lead and follow suit.”
In Ireland, the Living Wage Technical Group currently believes that an hourly rate of €11.50 is a fair "living wage" that businesses should adopt. Ikea announced in March that it would adopt this rate for its Dublin workers.