The Law Shop is now closed. Please click here to find out more.

The Living Wage - Chelsea's new signing

Stephen Hunt - Law on the Web

  1. 17 December 2014
  2. Employment
  3. 0 comments
Football players

Chelsea Football Club recently became the first Premier League outfit to commit to paying all their employees the Living Wage. They join League Two club Luton Town, Scottish club Hearts and FC United of Manchester.

What is the Living Wage?

The Living Wage, intended to represent the amount required to cover basic living costs, is not statutory, meaning employers are under no obligation to offer it. It is updated annually, but currently stands at £9.15 in London and £7.85 in other parts of the country.

This is compared to the current National Minimum Wage for people aged 21 and over of £6.50, which is enforced in law. This makes no allowance for the higher cost of living in the capital.

According to the Living Wage Foundation, 75% of employees reported an increase in the quality of their work as a result of receiving the Living Wage.

Over 1,000 employers have received accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation and therefore committed to paying the Living Wage. This includes FTSE 100 companies such as Aviva, Barclays, and Legal & General, but until recently did not include any Premier League football clubs.

‘The right thing to do’

Of course, there are many more people behind the running of a football club than the eleven players who step out on to the pitch and the coaching staff who train them. With the difference this will make to a lot of people it is likely to be roundly commended.

Chairman of the ‘Blues’, Bruce Buck, said: “Quite simply, it is the right thing to do”.

And London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "They realise their team is more than just the 11 men out on the pitch, and that by putting more pounds in the pockets of their staff they are signing up to a win-win scenario that rewards a hard day's work with a fair day's pay for everyone."

Should more clubs do the same?

It is not yet clear how many other sides will follow suit, but it will probably come as a surprise that more Premier League sides do not pay the Living Wage already, given the astronomical fees paid for players in the modern age and their wages, and the funds that clubs must have at their disposal to be able to make this kind of outlay.

Indeed, Labour’s Sadiq Khan summed up this viewpoint, saying: “The highest paid players in London earn a year’s minimum wage salary in two hours. If our Premier League teams are going to pay these salaries, why not pay all their staff the London Living Wage too?”

A compulsory Living Wage may not the answer, however, as the increase in wages for less profitable companies may be unsustainable.

But applying a higher minimum wage to bigger companies may also be seen as unjustified, so perhaps the best hope for supporters of the Living Wage is that other clubs see the benefit that comes the way of Chelsea and follow their example.

Share your experiences

Please note: The views expressed in community areas of this site do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Law on the Web, its owners, its staff or contributors. All comments are moderated prior to publication.

comments powered by Disqus