Unite Students, the UK’s largest and longest established private student accommodation provider, has been accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

The Living Wage Foundation made the announcement after reviewing Unite’s working practices and commitments as an employer of 1,237 staff across the UK. The accreditation will see everyone working at Unite Students, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.25 outside London and £9.40 in London. That is significantly higher than the current national minimum wage of £6.70 and the government’s proposed national living wage of £7.20.

Unite Students HR Director, Ruth George, commented: 

“We are delighted to have received the Living Wage Employer Accreditation and to be working with the Living Wage Foundation.

“Our purpose as a business is to provide our students with a ‘home for success’. This means helping them achieve more from their time at university, whether that is academic success, personal growth or employability. To achieve this we understand the benefit of having a happy and motivated workforce who earn a fair salary for their hard work and commitment.

“As a business we’ve worked hard to win this accreditation over the past 9 months, and began paying staff the living wage from March 2015. Our commitment resulted in a salary increase for 355 of our 1237 staff.

“One of the reasons we have emerged as the leading company in this competitive sector is that we are a responsible employer. We are proud of our achievements as a business and our success would not have been be possible without our employees.”

In becoming accredited, Unite Students will continue to work with key suppliers to encourage a Living Wage approach and ensure that regular contractors working at our properties move to paying a Living Wage.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

Living Wage Foundation Director, Sarah Vero, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Unite Students to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.

“We have accredited over 2,000 leading employers, including Unite Students, ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and SSE. These businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that. "

For more information about the Living Wage Foundation visit: www.livingwage.org.uk