EMPLOYERS should not regard paying the living wage purely as an increased cost.

That’s the advice from Provista, an IT firm that was paying the living wage to most employees before receiving accreditation and, as an ethical employer, was already an adopter of the Scottish Business Pledge.

“We believe in investing in our workforce and the need to be an ethical, responsible employer,” said director Stuart Little, who founded the firm in 2006 along with director Barry Oliver.

Little added: “I feel it is short-sighted not to be paying a decent wage. Employees that are paid fairly are much more likely to be invested in the business.

“Happier staff are less likely to move, with recruitment often becoming a significant cost – and this is before we even talk about the productivity and cultural benefits that more fulfilled employees bring.”

The firm has grown year on year, with its headcount now 33-strong across headquarters in Hamilton and office locations in Aberdeen and Birmingham.

It provides network solutions, cloud solutions, professional services and support services to a range of small, medium and large organisations and counts Balfour Beatty, Digby Brown and Glasgow Science Centre amongst its many public and private sector clients.

Last April it reached a milestone by being awarded Cisco Gold Partner status, and it is currently the only independent Scottish firm to be awarded the certification – a major boost, as Provista regularly competes to win business from major national and multinational corporations.

As well as deciding to sign up to the Business Pledge, Provista applied for Scottish Living Wage Accreditation on the grounds it would ensure employees felt valued and bring recognition to the company. Provista also hopes that by doing so, other employers will be encouraged to provide fair work opportunities for their staff.

“Both ethically and competitively we believe in paying fair wages regardless,” said Little. “Another benefit and the reason we wholeheartedly support the campaign is that it makes you hold your own suppliers to account.

“For instance, we asked the agency that supplies our cleaners – and were delighted to find that they do pay in excess of the living wage.

“We encourage more businesses to sign up and hopefully this will have a knock-on effect throughout the business community, increasing pressure on firms insisting on simply paying the minimum wage.”

The UK Living Wage for outside of London is currently £8.45 per hour. The figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in London and the UK.

It is higher than the UK Government’s so-called “living wage”, which is just a rebranding of the legally binding minimum wage and only applies to those over the age of 25.

The accreditation programme in Scotland was launched in April 2014. It is an initiative from The Poverty Alliance, in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation, and is funded by the Scottish Government.

More than 25,000 people in Scotland have had a pay rise thanks to the Living Wage Initiative and more than 880 employers headquartered in Scotland have become accredited.Accreditation is voluntary. In the UK as a whole, there are 3000 accredited employers. Accredited real living wage employers in Scotland span private, public and third sectors. SMEs make up 75 per cent of the total number of employers and one in three local councils are accredited.

For more information visit www.scottishlivingwage.org