Denbighshire Council will pay its staff the Real Living Wage from next year but it will not sign up to a scheme as an accredited living wage employer.

A report to members of the council warned that signing up to be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, allowing the council to advertise itself as a living wage employe, would be an additional cost to the council.

However in doing so there would be a knock on effect as the council would have to pay some third party staff the living wage as well.

Officers have warned councillors that this could cost the council £1 million.

The report was made to councillors because due to continuing changes to pay at the council its grade one staff will be recieving the equivalent of the Real Living Wage from next year.

It said: “The option of accreditation as a Real Living Wage employer would also mean that the council would need to ensure that it pays any contractors or providers with the same rate of pay as employees. The cost implication of this element is much more significant than the impact on internal pay costs and would create an additional budget pressure in 2019/20 of at least £1m. “There is also a nominal fee to be paid on a sliding scale to the Living Wage Foundation depending on the number of employees in the council.”

The living wage was brought in in 2015 to ensure that the lowest paid employees would be able to make ends meet.

But the Real Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay that has been calculated independently by the Living Wage Foundation.

It is proposed that this is the minimum wage that a  worker, over the age of 18, needs to earn to cover basic living costs would be £9.00 per hour

Chief finance officer, Richard Weigh, said: “The latest pay award means that the council will be paying hourly rates to staff at the Real Living Wage rate from April 2019/20. While the Real Living Wage  rate will increase in 2019/20 for the following year, so will the national pay award, meaning any differential is likely to marginal – if indeed there is a differential for 2020/21.

“The potential cost of becoming a Real Living Wage accredited employer however is much more significant. On the commissioned residential and nursing care sector alone, the immediate additional cost is estimated to be over £1m. As this is not a statutory requirement, the council has not budgeted for this additional cost and it would have to be funded by cutting services and staff elsewhere in the organisation.”