The University today announced that they have committed to paying the Oxford Living Wage, which will see a pay rise for nearly 2,000 employees, at a cost of around £5.5million over five years.

Wages will increase to £10.21 minimum hourly pay from 1st August 2020 onwards, when the commitment to paying the Living Wage will be implemented. The Oxford Living Wage is 95% of the Living Wage Foundation’s London Living Wage. The University is the largest employer in the city, and this represents a significant success for the council’s efforts to get employers to pledge to pay the Living Wage. 

This does not include colleges, who employ workers separately. St Cross College and Campion Hall already pay the Oxford Living Wage. A number of colleges currently pay the Living Wage Foundation’s Real Living Wage, which is currently £9.30 an hour across the UK, and £10.75 in London.

These are all voluntary rates: the two government rates that employers must legally pay are the National Living Wage, which is £8.21 an hour for over 25s, and the Minimum Wage, which is £7.70 for those over 21 and under 25. 

A statement from the University read “As part of its strategic plan, the University is committed to creating an environment that is supportive of wellbeing while ensuring Oxford remains an attractive place to work.

“Employees in a wide range of jobs are set to benefit from the new rate of pay, with office/clerical support staff, library assistants, museums’ staff, security staff, invigilators, technicians, secretarial and personal assistants and retail workers just some of the roles most affected.

“Apprentices, who were included when the University moved onto the Living Wage Foundation’s Real Living Wage, will be included once again. The University will initiate discussions with suppliers regarding a move to Oxford Living Wage where practicable.

“Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice Chancellor for People and Gardens, Libraries and Museums, said “There are many wonderful things about Oxford that make it an attractive place. However, it is known as being a city that is expensive to live and work in.

“Recognising this, I am very happy that the University Council has approved the introduction of the Oxford Living Wage for University staff, demonstrating our commitment to fair pay for our employees.” 

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the City Council, said: “I am delighted that the University of Oxford has signed up to pay the Oxford Living Wage. This is a huge commitment from one of the city’s biggest and best known employers, and will have a positive impact on hundreds of people they employ.

“The cost of living in Oxford is one of the highest outside London, but wages in the lowest paid jobs often do not reflect this. We think that the Oxford Living Wage is a good way for employers to show they recognise the financial pressures for their staff, demonstrate the value they place on their employees, and support a more inclusive economy for Oxford.”

“We recognise some businesses and organisations will have concerns about increasing the monthly payroll, but the University has demonstrated that even employers with significant numbers of people on the lowest rate can make that commitment. We hope that other employers will follow the example of the University.” 

Analysis from the University indicates those who will be most affected by the changes.The estimated five-year cost of implementing the Oxford Living Wage for University staff is £5.5 million.

The implementation of Oxford Living Wage will affect 2000 employees. This represents 8.2% of University employees and 6% of casuals.

The jobs that will benefit most are: Office/clerical Support (19.6%), Library Assistants, (17.6%), Security Staff (9.0%), Invigilator (7.9%), Technician (7.5%), Secretary/ Personal Assistant (7.3%), and Retail (5.2%).

Analysis indicates that a greater proportion of women (55%) than men (45%) will benefit from this move by the University.