Links, CC, Herbert Smith among firms to commit to paying Living Wage

Linklaters, Clifford Chance (CC), Herbert Smith Freehills and Olswang are among a number of law firms to have committed to paying the Living Wage to their lowest-paid staff, including all outsourced employees.

The firms join a raft of almost 100 companies to have been accredited over the last year by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), which last week published a list of organisations to have adopted the scheme.

The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK, and currently stands at £8.55 per hour in London and £7.45 outside of the capital. The current minimum wage is £6.19.

Other representatives from the legal profession to have commited to paying the Living Wage include Mishcon de Reya, Lewis Silkin, Bates Wells & Braithwaite, 11 King’s Bench Walk Chambers and London education law firm Match Solicitors.

An LWF spokesperson said the uptake from the legal profession had been one of the strongest of any sector, and confirmed that the Law Society and several other law firms are in the process of being accredited.

Linklaters is one of LWF’s six principal partners, alongside KPMG, Save the Children and Queen Mary’s University London – a role which will see the firm provide both financial and strategic support in encouraging other employers to sign up to the scheme.

Matt Sparkes, Linklaters’ global head of corporate responsibility said: “It is not just the right thing to do, it makes absolute business sense. It ensures that we attract and retain the best and most motivated people, whether directly employed by us or by others. We want good people and the Living Wage is an excellent way of getting and keeping them.”

LWF cites research that a living wage benefits not only employees, but business and society in general. Pointing to independent studies, the organisation says more than 80% of employers believe the Living Wage has enhanced the quality of the work of their staff, with corresponding falls in absenteeism and turnover of contractors, as well as improvements in recruitment and retention.

CC London managing partner David Bickerton said: “We are supportive of this initiative and are pleased to have received our accreditation. As well as meeting the requirements for our own staff, we require suppliers based in our building to pay their staff at least the London Living Wage.”

Herbert Smith Freehills head of corporate responsibility Richard Brophy said: “We believe people should be treated with respect – it makes perfect sense to pay the living wage to our employees. It is also a good way to retain the best people.”

Olswang global director of HR Ffion Griffith said: “A key value at Olswang is that people come first: this applies to clients and employees alike. Adopting the London Living Wage was the most natural step to take, as it demonstrates that we respect everyone who makes our firm work, even those we don’t employ directly, and value the work they do.”

Click here for the full list of accredited Living Wage employers.