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Neurology charity joins the living wage community

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Neurology charity the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA) is the latest organisation to achieve living wage accreditation.

The Paisley based charity, which supports families with degenerative neurological condition Huntington’s disease (HD), joins a list of around 2200 companies and organisations across the UK which have now been accredited after pledging to pay all employees a living wage.

The accreditation is made by the Poverty Alliance on behalf of the Living Wage Foundation and involves public commitment by a company or organisation’s to a pay structure that meets living wage standards.

All employers are expected to comply with minimum wage legislation.

But the SHA is going above and beyond any basic statutory commitment by signing up to the Living Wage Foundation’s higher rates of pay.

The Living Wage, as set out by the Living Wage Foundation is £8.25 an hour currently £1.05 an hour higher than the government set minimum.

“Staff are at the heart of what we do, without them we would not be able to provide the care and support to HD families that is vital to improve their quality of life. Making sure they are properly rewarded for their work is simple common sense,” said chief executive, John Eden.

“Research shows that paying the Living Wage can enhance productivity, reduce absenteeism and improve staff morale but we need even more organisations to recognise the benefits and sign up for accreditation and help those on the lowest pay.

“In an ideal world we shouldn’t have to sign post the fact we pay a wage people can live on, but hopefully by highlighting just how many organisations aren’t, we can persuade others to follow suit and reward their staff properly.”

SHA is the only charity in the country that works with families affected by the disease providing lifeline services, including specialist nurses a financial wellbeing service and an HD youth support service.

HD is a hereditary progressive condition that causes changes to muscle control, thinking processes and mental well being. The average age of onset is between 33 and 45, there is currently no cure for HD. Those living with the condition will require 24 hour care as it progresses into its later stages and. It is also hereditary with each child of someone diagnosed with HD is at 50% risk of developing the condition themselves.

Prevalence of Huntington’s disease generally has increased threefold in the last twenty years. There are estimated to be 1,100 people in Scotland living with the condition but as many as 5,000 could be potentially at risk.

SHA employs around 50 staff in eight offices around the country.

Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance said:

“It is excellent to see Scottish Huntington’s Association become a Living Wage employer. With over half of children in poverty in Scotland living in a household where someone works, paying the Living Wage is now more important than ever.”
 

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