Since we began Goupie, in 2010, it was imperative that we did business the way that we felt was ‘right’. That’s not to say that we would always know exactly what was the best path; but with good intentions, and an attitude of continual learning and improvement, we could keep our conscience clear.
One element which was immediately clear to us, was that of the treatment of our staff. There were a few things which we felt were basics, a given expectation for a happy workplace, but which sadly are not always industry standard. These were a proper wage, flexible hours and opportunities for development.
We’re pretty sure that, like any workplace, there are days when our staff would rather be anywhere else, or when they’re frustrated with the job at hand. However, as a whole, we want to be doing our absolute best to make Goupie a happy workplace, where people look forward to going, and feel part of the family. This starts with putting your own money where you mouth is.
From the very beginning we paid our staff in the factory above living wage. In our opinion, it’s fairly obvious that if you expect to get the best out of people, you need to treat them with respect and pay them accordingly.
So, what is the living wage? Here’s where it depends upon your definition! The national living wage refers to the lowest rate of pay that can legally be offered to any employee over the age of 23. Under the age of 23, the are a few other minimum wage brackets which depend upon age, or if the employee is an apprentice. These figures are all set annually by the government and are a requirement for any business.
The real living wage, on the other hand, is an independently calculated value based upon actual living costs at that point in time by a collaboration between the Living Wage Commission and the Resolution Foundation. Paying the real living wage is voluntary for businesses. These are the minimum wages which we follow!
Both manufacturing and hospitality businesses are known for their relatively low rate of pay, and we think this is bonkers. Anyone who’s ever worked a factory line, or waited tables, knows it’s hard work, and that there’s a definite skill level which sets apart those who are amazing at their jobs and those who are just filling time. Each and every one of our staff is a skilled worker, in our opinion, and they deserved to be paid as much as we can afford.
This goes for every employee, no matter their age. We would never expect less of a staff member because they’re 20, and so why should they be paid any less? No matter who you are at Goupie, you’ll never receive less than the REAL living wage, that’s our promise.
If you're interested in hearing more about living wages, there's no point in us telling you - head over to the Living Wage Foundation's website! Or, if you want to hear more about a working week at Goupie and our staff ethics, we've written more here!