More than six in 10 low-paid workers believe that receiving the real living wage would improve their mental healthresearch has revealed.
The survey of 1,702 adults who are employed full-time but earn less than the real living wageconducted by the Living Wage Foundation and the market research agency Survation, also found that the same proportion (63%) believed that their family life would improve.
The actual living wage is currently set at £9.90 per hour throughout the UK except London where it is £11.05. It is paid voluntarily by nearly 9,000 UK employers.
For its part, the legal minimums are set at 8.36 pounds sterling for workers aged 21 or 22 and at 8.91 pounds sterling for those aged 23 or over.
Survation survey findings included that 38% of respondents are falling behind on basic household bills, up from 29% in December 2020.
More than a quarter (28%) of those earning below the actual living wage admitted not being able to keep their homes warm this winter, according to the survey, an increase from 20% in 2020. More than a third (37%) of those in Wales and 31% of those in the north of England gave this answer.
One in five (23%) have fallen behind on rent or mortgage payments, and 17% have been forced to take out payday loans to cover essentials. More than a quarter (28%) of Londoners admitted to having fallen behind on their rent or mortgage payments and 21% have had a payday loan for essentials.
Additionally, 42% of women said they were behind on household bills compared to 35% of men, and 29% of women surveyed had been unable to heat their homes compared to 26% of men.
Women also reported feeling more anxious than men, with 50% finding their low wages negatively affected their mental health compared to 38% of men.
Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, explained that with many facing increasing financial insecurity, the real living wage offers a crucial lifeline for workers, as it anchors their finances by earning a salary linked to the cost of living.
“There is no better way for companies to offer protection and reward to their staff than to join with more than 9,000 living wage employers to ensure that everyone who works for them, including the people who kept us running during the pandemic, like cleaners and security guards, earn this salary. ,” she said.