Pubs urged to pay staff living wage

By Mike Berry

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs urged to pay staff living wage

Related tags National minimum wage Minimum wage

A Devon licensee who is paying her staff the living wage has called on other pubs to help change the trade’s reputation as a low-pay sector.

The Prospect Inn, in Exeter, has been accredited as a living wage employer for its commitment to paying all staff a minimum hourly wage of £7.85 — well above the current national minimum wage rate of £6.50. 

The pub started paying staff the enhanced rate on 1 June and is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the UK ‘Minimum Income Standard’, with employers paying the wage on a voluntary basis.

Suzanne Abrey-Cameron, who has run the Heavitree Brewery tenancy since 2002, said she had always paid her staff well above the national minimum wage in recognition of their hard work.

“Our team has to work unsociable hours and some shifts can be quite demanding because we are a tourist destination,” she told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​.

“The pub trade is renowned for low-paid employment — we believe in a good day’s pay for a good day’s work, fairness for all and we are keen to support our local community.

Ideally, other pubs should do this, but it depends on their operation and values.”

Research by professional services firm KPMG last year found 90% of bar staff are paid less than the living wage, and hospitality tops the list of sectors by proportion paying below the rate.

Abrey-Cameron said offering the higher rate had made it easier to recruit and helps with retention and motivation of staff. “Paying the living wage was the natural next step for us and a goal we are proud to have achieved. We also believe just being a minimum wage employer is not good for business and can be looked upon unfavourably by customers.”

She added that she had been overwhelmed by the positive response to the move from staff and customers, and hoped it would lead to an uplift in trade.

Pubcos Faucet Inn and BrewDog are among the few in the trade to be accredited as living wage employers.

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