Dinner nannies, cleaners and lolly-pop people could be earning more than the national minimum wage next year under changes being discussed.
Proposals for a Durham Living Wage would mean the lowest-paid workers at Durham County Council – such as lunchtime supervisors, caretakers, cleaners and school crossing patrols – would receive at least £7.43 per hour, 93p more than the National Minimum Wage.
More than 2,500 employees, including 1,800 employees working in schools across the county, could benefit if the scheme is agreed by Full Council.
The proposals, which would come into effect from 1st January 2015, have been put together by a Living Wage Working Group set up by the council to look at the benefits, risks and affordability of establishing a scheme.
Cllr Alan Napier, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for resources, said: “This scheme is a fair, affordable and sustainable way of introducing a realistic and deliverable living wage for our employees.
“We believe its introduction would not only make a significant difference to the lives of our lowest paid employees but would also have knock-on benefits for the authority and wider county.
“Independent research shows that a living wage can reduce absenteeism and enhances the quality of work produced by staff.
“Furthermore, as lower paid employees tend to spend a high proportion of their wages with local shops and businesses, there should also be an added benefit to the local economy.”
If members vote to adopt the scheme, it would cost the authority and the county’s schools just over £1m a year. The scheme would be reviewed annually.
Durham County Council meets on Wednesday, 3rd December at County Hall, Durham.