THE total number of Living Wage accredited employers in Scotland has now reached 1500.

Johnstons of Elgin, a supplier of woollen and cashmere garments, was officially announced as the 1500th firm across the country to commit to paying its employees the real Living Wage of £9 per hour.

Campaign organisation Living Wage Scotland has pushed for employers to become accredited over the last five years.

The real Living Wage is higher than the national Living Wage (£8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and older) and is also higher than the Minimum Wage (£7.70 for those aged 21 and older).

Both the minimum wage and the national Living Wage are statutory, as set out by the Government, however the real Living Wage is voluntary and applies to employers who are aged 18 and over.

Analysis suggests that the number of accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland has doubled in the past two years – with an estimated 37,000 workers receiving a pay rise from accredited Living Wage employers.

Simon Cotton, chief executive of Johnstons of Elgin, said: “Johnstons of Elgin always have employees at the forefront of our strategy and we recognise the significant part they play in the success of the company. Our ability to move to become a Living Wage employer is a direct result of the hard work undertaken by every one of our 1048 employees to put Johnstons of Elgin on a sound financial footing.

“Making this change is something I am delighted to be able to do.”

The Scottish Government’s Fair Work Minister, Jamie Hepburn, said that boosting wages for employees also helps to benefit the economy.

“Ensuring staff are fairly remunerated, by paying the real Living Wage, is a key aspect of demonstrating commitment to fair work practices,” he said.

“That is why I am pleased to see Johnstons has joined the growing movement of employers across Scotland paying the real Living Wage and congratulate them on becoming the 1500 employer to obtain accreditation.

“The Scottish Government has long championed Fair Work and paying the real Living Wage.

“It ensures that workers are treated fairly and get more money in their pockets.

“It benefits our economy too, showing that what is good for workers is also good for business and for the economy.”

Jack Evans, from Living Wage Scotland, said: “I am delighted to be celebrating such an important milestone with Johnstons of Elgin.

“As one of Scotland’s oldest family businesses it is fantastic to see Johnstons make this ongoing commitment to their staff, recognising that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

“The real Living Wage makes a real and immediate difference to the lives of workers, and at the same time has proven business benefits.

“This accreditation and the 1499 before it shows that employers want to go beyond the minimum for their staff and their business.

“I hope that more employers will follow Johnstons’ lead and become accredited.

Living Wage Scotland is hosted by The Poverty Alliance, in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation, and is funded by the Scottish Government.