Everton FC have become only the second Premier League club to pledge to pay all its staff at least the independently calculated ‘Living Wage’.
The Merseyside club join Chelsea as the only teams in the English top division to receive accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation ahead of the announcement of a new living wage.
Close to 3,000 accredited UK business have signed up to pay the voluntary wage, which is said to cover the actual cost of living.
The rate, previously at £8.25 an hour, has risen by over 2% to £8.45 an hour – higher than the UK Government’s minimum rate of £7.20 for over 25-year-olds.
By becoming a Living Wage employer, Everton will give 250 casual and match-day staff a pay rise, taking them to a new rate which will come into effect in May 2017.
Over the next three seasons, Everton will also hand additional pay rises to the over 700 contractors that work for the club, which will add up to an extra £2,000 a year for each contractor.
Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE, Everton’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director, said: “It is extremely important to us that we treat all of our colleagues well and reward people fairly in terms of their pay.
“Supporting the accredited living wage is quite simply the right thing to do; it improves our employees’ quality of life but also benefits our business and society as a whole.”
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Premier League clubs have been regularly criticised for paying match-day employees – particularly those that are agency and contractor staff – barely more than the legally required minimum wage.
There are only a handful other football clubs in the United Kingdom, including Hearts and Luton Town, that also hold the accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation. It is hoped that more top flight clubs will follow the example set by Everton and Chelsea.
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “By putting more pounds in the pockets of their staff, Everton are signing up to a win-win scenario that rewards a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.
“I congratulate Everton and hope other football clubs will take their lead and follow suit.”