IKEA has become the first national retailer in the UK to commit to paying the living wage.
The home furnishing giant said that the increase will come into effect from 1st April 2016. More than half of the company’s 9,000 employees will see their pay rise.
By paying the living wage IKEA is bringing its wages into accordance with the Living Wage Foundation guidelines. This means that they will pay at least £9.15 an hour for workers in London and £7.85 for staff based outside of the capital.
Gillian Drakeford, IKEA UK and Ireland country manager, said: “Introducing the living wage is not only the right thing to do for our co-workers, but it also makes good business sense.”
“This is a long-term investment in our people based on our values and our belief that a team with good compensation and working conditions is in a position to provide a great experience to our customers.”
Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation said: “We are delighted with this momentous announcement that IKEA will be accrediting as a Living Wage employer.”
“This is a huge step for the British retail sector and we hope that many other businesses will follow the leadership IKEA is showing on the issue of basic pay.”
“It sends out a clear marker to the sector that businesses that can, should pay the voluntary rate. It remains that for many UK employees, despite working hard, their rates of pay don’t cover the costs of living.”
The announcement follows wage increases announced in this month’s budget. Chancellor George Osborne declared that from next April employers would have to pay a new minimum wage of £7.20 an hour to employees aged 25 and over. This will rise to £9.00 an hour by 2020.
The planned minimum pay increases will benefit six million people in both the private and the public sectors; however the rates are still below the levels advised by the Living Wage Foundation.
Lower paid employees from across the country will hope that IKEA’s decision to pay a fairer wage will encourage other UK businesses to do the same.