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Rise & shine

25 November 2015

The national minimum wage rose from £6.50 to £6.70 on 1st October – affecting 230,000 workers in the cleaning sector.

The new rate – which is the minimum pay per hour that almost all workers are entitled to by law – means that a full-time employee, working 35 hours, will see an additional £364 in their annual pay packets, which represents the largest cash increase since 2008. 

From April next year it will also be mandatory for employers to pay anyone over 25 the national living wage (NLW). Initially this rate will be set at £7.20 per hour, with a target that the figure will reach £9 or more per hour by 2020. It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. 

No doubt some businesses operating in the highly competitive cleaning sector will be worrying about whether these changes will have a negative impact on their already tight profit margins. If you're one of them then take heart from the fact that more and more companies in our industry are already choosing to pay their staff the national living wage ahead of next year's obligatory rise, having recognised the mutual benefit to employer and employee.

One such company said: "Paying a wage that people can actually live on is absolutely the right thing to do morally and financially. Our employees are people not commodities. We want to attract and retain quality staff and so reward them accordingly." 

The importance of retaining knowledgeable and experienced staff that have been trained to undertake tasks quickly and successfully should not be underestimated. 
Don't forget: your customers will also be looking to increase productivity and to control costs within their own organisations to accommodate the new wage rates. Cleaning businesses that can offer fantastic service will be highly prized. 

Customers in the facility management sector will also be looking for business partners that can anticipate the issues they will face and come up with solutions. For example, products that can drive efficiencies through quick and easy installation, cleaning and maintenance, ease of use, less wastage, longer lifespan etc. will become even more sought-after, thus providing new opportunities for savvy cleaning businesses to shine.