KCLSU is found to only pay employees in their student bars and cafés £9.41 per hour despite advertising London’s living wage on their website.
Working in one of KCLSU’s establishments such as The Vault or The Shack is a popular choice for students due to its convenient location, establishment in student life, and high wages. On their website, KCLSU advertises the fact that they are a “London Living Wage Employer”. London Living Wage is a figure calculated to reflect the hourly wage an employee needs to earn “enough to afford the essentials and to save,” as per the Mayor of London’s website and is currently calculated to be £10.55.
“It completely motivated me to apply, 100%,” says a King’s Student employed at one of KCLSU’s establishments who wishes to remain anonymous.
“I think it was my only motivation for applying to be honest,” they elaborate.
However, when viewing the Student Staff contact provided by KCLSU, it is clear that the hourly wage for employees is actually only £9.41. KCLSU pays 12.07% holiday pay which is paid out at the end of the term. When adding the holiday pay to the hourly wage, the total sum does equal £10.55, however, to earn this, employees would need to forgo paid holidays and count back their holiday pay as part of their hourly wages. This is somewhat unreasonable as at this point, employees will not working and will need the holiday pay to cover costs during their time off. KCLSU employees effectively have £9.41 per hour to live on every month. Advertising “London Living Wage” is more than misleading as the goal of calculating the London Living Wage is to find the hourly rate necessary to live and work in London, and holiday pay is not meant to contribute to a higher salary but ensure employees chances of going on holiday without sacrificing their income.
“I felt lied to. In a way, I think that I would still have applied for a £9.41 position but it feels like they were using us without even telling us the truth,” the KCLSU employed student says.
The end of term payout also means that this is not money that they are able to use in their day to day life throughout the year.
“I should be paid holiday pay but I’m not as it is already included in the pay I’m getting,” they said.