The Real Living wage has increased (Picture: Getty)

Like it or not, the cost of living is going up, up and up.

Rent is costly, energy bills have risen and so have food prices, while petrol prices soar as the pace of inflation hits a 40-year high.

Salaries need to keep up with it, and being paid fair money for your work has never been more important. After all, necessities shouldn’t ever have to feel like luxuries.

Campaign group Living Wage Foundation knows this – and announces a minimum per-hour salary all workers in the UK should get each year to keep up with soaring costs.

As a ‘mini-budget’ from the government is announced, the Real Living Wage has also seen some changes.

But what is it exactly, and how is it different from the government’s Living Wage?

Here’s all you need to know.

What is the Real Living Wage and how much is it?

Does your local shop follow the guidelines of the real living wage? (Picture: Getty)

Essentially, the Real Living Wage is the minimum per-hour rate a UK worker would need to properly live.

Keeping a roof over their head, paying bills, getting in a weekly shop, buying petrol, and covering unexpected costs included – as well as factoring in the rise of inflation.

It’s an initiative by the Living Wage Foundation – a campaign group set up to encourage employers to pay their workers what it called the ‘Real Living Wage’.

But a group called the Resolution Foundation calculates the sum, using recent data about how much everything costs.

Then, each November, the year’s Real Living Wage is announced – but in 2022 it was announced earlier on September 22.

It has been raised by £1 from £9.90 to £10.90 an hour, which is what the minimum workers in the UK should be paid from now until 2023, it says – with the hourly rate rising to £11.95 for workers in Greater London.

This estimation doesn’t seem to be capped by age, like the government’s National Living Wage.

This is in stark contrast to the current National Minimum Wage, which stands today at £8.91 per hour and is dependent on age.

How does it differ from the National Living or Minimum Wage?

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Unfortunately, the Real Living Wage isn’t the same as the government’s National Living Wage.

The National Living Wage for those aged 23 or older has been at £9.50 an hour since April 2022.

It is less – and called the Minimum Wage – if you’re aged 21 to 22 (£9.18) or 18 to 20 (£6.83).

Apprentices and workers under the age of 18 have a minimum hourly rate of £4.81.

To put that into a yearly context, the new rates of the Real Living Wage are now worth £2,700 more per year to full-time workers in the UK than those on the national minimum wage and almost £5,000 more in London.

Unlike the Real Living Wage, most employers by law have to pay their workers the National Living or Minimum Wage.

Though some workers are exceptions to the rule (such as self-employed people running businesses, Erasmus students, prisoners, and members of the Armed Forces).

You can read the full list of entitlements on

Who has to pay the Real Living Wage?

IKEA is listed by the Living Wage Foundation as an accredited employer (Picture: Getty)

Nobody has to pay the Real Living Wage, unfortunately – it’s a voluntary commitment.

However, more than 9,000 employers across the UK have taken this on of their own accord.

You can check out the full list of employers here, and you may notice a few household names in there.

IKEA, Nationwide, Aviva, Nestle and Oxfam are among the well-known brands who’ve agreed to the wage.

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