HUNDREDS of the lowest paid workers at Hartlepool Borough Council look set to benefit from a wage rise.
Councillors are being recommended to approve plans to introduce the Living Wage for 405 employees, which would see their pay rise from £6.45 to £7.26 an hour from September 1.
If approved, the plans would cost the local authority £155,000 a year.
The Living Wage is a national campaign set up in 2011 and run by the Living Wage Foundation to address poverty.
It encourages businesses and local authorities to sign up to discretionary national Living Wage of £7.45 an hour, or as close to it they can afford.
A report by the council chief executive Dave Stubbs outlined the plans and said Living Wage employers report improved morale, lower turn over of staff and less time off sick.
Those that stand to benefit include 351 council workers and 54 non-teaching school employees.
Mr Stubbs added: “Low paid employees who currently earn less that the level set for a Living Wage would benefit from the introduction of a Living Wage.
“Paying a Living Wage is an investment in people and families and would contribute to tackling inequality and poverty.
“A Living Wage makes sense in relation to the potential impact on the local economy too, as those on low incomes are more likely to spend their money locally which can help to safeguard and create jobs in Hartlepool.
“Over 95 per cent of employees in the council and schools who could benefit from a Living Wage live in Hartlepool.
“In addition, lower paid employees are more likely to be claiming benefits and any increase in their pay may reduce the amount of benefit they receive which will create a saving on the council’s benefits budget which, in turn, can be used to support other Hartlepool residents.”
But Mr Stubbs said due to the tapering nature of some benefits, it is unlikely that employees will be worse off as a result of receiving a Living Wage.
A further recommendation to councillors is that full council be requested to release £90,000 from the Living Wage reserve to fund a Living Wage of £7.26 per hour this financial year.
The council’s finance and policy committee will meet on Friday morning at 9.30am the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, Hartlepool.