SAMH Celebrates Commitment to Real Living Wage

4th October 2019

Mental health charity SAMH has today achieved accreditation as a Living Wage Employer. This follows several years of work in partnership with the charity’s colleagues in Unite the Union to achieve the shared ambition of formal accreditation. It forms part of SAMH’s commitment to the Scottish Fair Work Framework.

With close to 600 staff across Scotland, SAMH is a significant employer and this news reflects the value the charity places on its highly-skilled staff. In committing to pay the Living Wage, SAMH becomes one of the largest third sector bodies in Scotland to receive this accreditation: just eight other charities with staff teams of 500+ have previously signed up.

The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at SAMH receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.00. This is significantly higher than the government minimum for over 25s, which currently stands at £8.21 per hour. In Scotland nearly a fifth of all jobs (18%) pay less than the real Living Wage - around 404,000 jobs.

Billy Watson, Chief Executive at SAMH said,

“We are proud to have achieved accreditation as a Living Wage employer. This is one of the ways in which we are recognising in the amazing work that our talented and dedicated staff do every day to support Scotland’s mental health.

We believe that fair work is work that offers effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect. A core part of this is our commitment to paying the real Living Wage.” 

The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to what people need to make ends meet. It provides a benchmark for employers that choose to take a stand by ensuring their staff earn a wage that meets the costs and pressures they face in their everyday lives. 

Lorna Glen, Regional Women and Equalities Officer, Unite the Union said,

“It’s great news that SAMH has taken this step to become a Living Wage employer. Unite the Union works in partnership with SAMH to ensure members have the best working conditions possible, and we welcome this important new development.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said,

“We are delighted that SAMH has become an accredited Living Wage employer. They join a movement of over 1600 Scottish employers who choose to go beyond the legal minimum and ensure that all their staff receive a rate of pay that is based on the cost of living.

“Over one million people in Scotland are trapped in the grip of poverty. The stress of struggling to get by on a low income often affects people’s mental health. At the same time, people living with mental health conditions are more likely to find themselves living on a low income. But as a society we can choose to take action to loosen the grip of poverty. We can create a more supportive social security system, ensure every worker receives at least the real Living Wage, and ensure public services work for everyone. In so doing, we can help create a more just and compassionate society that promotes wellbeing.

“SAMH is an important third sector employer, and I hope more organisations are encouraged to follow their lead by becoming accredited.”