Optimum Care, a social care provider based in Northern Ireland, has been accredited as a Real Living Wage Employer.

The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at Optimum Care receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.90, higher than the UK government’s minimum wage for over 23s, which currently stands at £9.50 per hour.

Northern Ireland currently has the highest proportion of non-Living Wage jobs in the UK (21.3%), with over 236,000 roles paying less than the Real Living Wage.

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In paying its employees the Real Living Wage, Optimum Care wanted to break the mould.

JP Watson, group managing director of Optimum Care, said: “Optimum Care, are delighted to be formally recognised as a Living Wage employer. We firmly believe in the importance and value of the care and kindness being delivered every day by our social care workforce. Being able to reward them at remuneration levels far in excess of Living Wage goes some greater distance to properly rewarding our great people for the tremendous work they do.’

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, which calculates the Real Living Wage based on the cost of living, said: “We’re thrilled that Optimum Care has joined the movement of almost 9,000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on.

“They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as Ulster Bank, IKEA, Santandar and many more. These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like Optimum Care, believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

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