Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

GMCVO position on the Living Wage and the Good Employment Charter

Living Wage

GMCVO is a fully accredited Living Wage employer. Our Board has adopted the following position on the payment of the Living Wage by VCSE organisations.

GMCVO acknowledges evidence that paying the Living Wage benefits the employer as well as the employee. We also acknowledge that the majority of VCSE organisations support the payment of the Living Wage on principle and GMCVO itself is proud to be a Living Wage employer.

We therefore recommend that VCSE employers should pay the Living Wage rather than the minimum wage whenever possible, whilst accepting that for some this would not be possible, especially for those who are tied by third party funding arrangements or who simply do not have the money.

GM Good Employment Charter

We are supportive of the idea of a Charter that raises standards for good and accessible jobs for people in Greater Manchester. We are proud that some excellent practice on Living Wage, diversity and flexible jobs and policies to accommodate people’s needs, is already to be found in the VCSE sector. We will want to encourage VCSE employers to support the Charter.

GMCVO has been involved in the steering group developing the Good Employment Charter for Greater Manchester, and has made a formal response to the consultation which you can read summarised below. Note that the assumption has been made throughout that VCSE organisations are employers, as well as public institutions and businesses, which is positive.

Key points made in our response to the consultation:

  • We have raised concern consistently that the Charter should not slide into becoming yet another standard, with large costs attached to assessing and managing it. We are in favour of asking employers to 'self-certify' and make a public commitment. We consider the value of the Charter would be in shifting perceptions of what is the norm and thus nudging all employers to move in the right direction.
  • With regard to motivating employers, it was very encouraging to see a question in the consultation about linking the Charter process with public sector procurement through the Social Value Framework – this would make it harder for any organisation not compliant with the Charter to be commissioned.
  • We have asked to add a seventh ‘area’ of Diversity in the Workplace, asking employers having policies and practices in place to ensure proportionate representation (in particular of ethnic minorities and women) at all pay grades and on boards, and to ensure all staff feel included and respected at work.
  • GMCVO is a fully accredited Real Living Wage (RLW) employer. Our position on RLW (which is the same as the Chamber’s) is to encourage VCSE organisations to pay RLW if they can, but to recognise that organisations delivering public services may not be able to. In addition, for smaller / newer social enterprises and social entrepreneurs there is a different barrier – like all SME start-ups and self-employees, social entrepreneurs and small social enterprises cannot always pay themselves and their staff RLW; there is also a very blurred line between volunteering and working which in many ways is positive. All of this means we have a concern about an absolute requirement for Charter signatories to pay RLW. All the other criteria in the Charter are potentially at no cost to the business, indeed could enhance competitiveness, and theoretically achievable in some form by all. We have asked for the wording to be modified on the lines of 'pay RLW unless there is a good reason why this is impossible, if not possible employers must explain why'.

We encourage all VCSE organsations to respond to the consultation which you can find here.