New ways to tackle low pay will be discussed by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet at the next meeting at 6pm on 13 April 2015 at Halifax Town Hall.
Calderdale Council introduced the Living Wage in April 2014, raising the income of over 250 Council workers.
The Council is also working hard to encourage other local employers to sign up to the scheme and uses its buying power to persuade its suppliers to pay the Living Wage to their employees.
On Monday the Cabinet will be invited to consider ten recommendations which have been put forward by the Lower Paid Workers’ Group (LPWG) in its report ‘No Silver Bullet: Doing more to support our lower paid workers’, and to approve their implementation in Calderdale.
The LPWG was set up by the Leaders of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority in spring 2014 to research ways for local authorities to provide extra support for people on low pay.
Robin Tuddenham, Calderdale Council’s Director of Communities and Service Support said:
“In many ways we’re ahead of the game on tackling low pay, but this is a useful opportunity to review the recommendations within the report, to see if there’s more we can do for those on the lowest pay.
“Calderdale Council is already leading by example, having introduced the Living Wage last year. It’s working well as it reduces reliance on in-work benefits and it helps us to attract and retain the best people. We’re also seeking to become a Living Wage Employer and we believe we will be the first Council in West Yorkshire to achieve this accreditation.
“We’re investing in the skills, talent and knowledge within the Council through our Future Workforce Programme which has opened up new career opportunities to employees at all levels allowing them to progress into new roles.
“We’re also being pro-active in our efforts to reduce poverty both within the Council and across Calderdale. In particular, the Council is working with organisations which provide home care on behalf of the Council as this is an important element in raising standards and ensuring that care is provided by well trained, well-motivated and committed staff.”
The recommendations within the LPWG report include encouraging lower paid workers to join a pension scheme; making sure that staff are offered opportunities to develop their skills so they are able to progress in their career and providing employee benefits and salary sacrifice schemes to stretch take-home pay further.
When Councils are commissioning services they will be encouraged to select by applying a social value policy, which will take into account the wider social, economic and environmental benefits which can be gained from the contract, including low pay. The Group also recommends that the zero hours contracts should be used very carefully, so that casual staff are protected from low pay.
The Cabinet will be invited to approve the recommendations within the report at the meeting on 13 April 2015. If agreed the Council’s HR team will then implement those recommendations which have not yet been introduced in Calderdale.