WORKING with contractors who pay the living wage could cost the city council around £300,000 more a year, it has been revealed.

Worcester City Council has been working on becoming an accredited living wage employer for some months following a call last October.

The council must move to ensure all of the third-party companies it works with also pay the real living wage to its staff to become accredited – which it expects to add at least £300,000 a year to its costs as none of the contractors identified are living wage employers.

The council has been paying the living wage since 2014 but has not yet looked for accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.

The ‘real’ living wage – which is currently £9.30 an hour for over 18s outside of London – is based on what is considered a level of income for an acceptable standard of living.

Cllr Lynn Denham, who put forward the motion calling for the council to work towards employer accreditation, said she was pleased to see some progress and the added cost would be uplifting to some of the city’s lowest paid workers.

She said: “I am really pleased to see that officers have made progress in investigating the way forward.

“Any costs will be about uplifting the wages of some of the lowest paid people in the city. That money will be spent in the local economy and will be spent on paying their bills and so on.”

To become an accredited employer, the council must ensure all of its third-party contracted staff are paid the ‘real’ living wage – identified as any contract with at least two hours a week for eight consecutive weeks.

The ‘real’ wage has been adopted to distinguish it from the national living wage of £8.21 an hour for over 25s – which is due to rise to £8.72 from April – set by the government.

The national minimum wage – also set by government – is currently £6.15 for workers aged between 18 and 20 and £7.70 for those aged between 21 and 24.

Any contracts the council signs in the future would have to take the living wage into account and explain the council’s aspirations to any potential supplier.

The council expects it to take at least five years to ensure the living wage is paid to all the staff it deals with.

The report will be discussed by councillors at a meeting on Wednesday (February 26).