How to Find Out if Your Cleaning Contractor Pays a Fair Wage

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When the UK government named and shamed 360 businesses who weren’t paying minimum wage in February 2017, its statement was a loud one: minimum wage abuse can and will be dragged into the digi-sphere with catastrophic results. The guilty companies spanned industries ranging from hotels to retailers. Six cleaning contractors made the list, causing enough damage to their reputations to tally up significant expenses on rescuing their brands.
Customers are more loyal to firms with positive reputations. One bad deed can undo a hundred good deeds when you're competing in the business arena. The cleaning contractor you hire could cost you considerable reputational risk by not paying its staff a liveable wage. Fair treatment of staff has a direct impact on workers' productivity, so choosing contractors who mistreat their cleaners could result in poor quality work that affects the safety of your product, service, or work environment. In fact, high wages are especially effective in the cleaning sector. There are a number of ways to determine how fairly your contractor treats its staff.
 

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Human Rights Resource Centre

If your contractor’s unfair practices have been reported in the press, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre may have links to those articles. Search their “Find Companies” database or run a local search for a company name.

The Ombudsman

The UK’s Ombudsman Service publishes news about investigated cases relating to employment regularly. It’s a dynamic site, constantly improving its search tools to offer readers a more user-friendly experience. Justified complaints are given recommendations for reparation, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the business who’s been investigated has made the advised changes. The NGO, Citizens Advice, also reports on good performers annually, and can advise you directly of contractors who mistreat their workers.

“Best Employers” Lists

Each year, a number of business and consumer journals award titles to the best employers in the UK. The Independent, Telegraph, and Business Insider are three of the most respected of these. While work absence alone won’t tell you directly about unfair wages, it’s a red flag that staff may be below the minimum, so it's worth investigating. You can check PMI Health Group’s healthy workforce list
for the UK’s best morale boosting businesses.

The Cleaning Services Group

Accreditation is the most direct way to find out how well your contractor pays its workers. The Cleaning Services Group awards its mark to national cleaning contractors who adhere to UK governing bodies’ regulations.

The Living Wage Foundation

This organisation accredits businesses that pay a living wage rate specific to both London and the broader UK area. Fair salaries are calculated independently based on what staff and families need in order to live. Those under the age of 25 have their own, lower wage rate. These amounts are calculated every November and are evidence-based. The organisation also provides lists of its partners on its site if you need to check your contractor’s claims.

Sustainable business practices are a principle-based management technique, and your contractors’ human resources ethics are as important as those that affect the planet. Values like respect, listening, and transparency should apply as much to staff treatment as to the cleaning chemicals and techniques chosen. They affect your own business’ safety just as much, and their impact on your bottom line can be extreme.

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