SSE is first Irish corporate to become a Living Wage employer

Energy utility SSE today announced that it will be the first large corporate business in the Republic of Ireland to become a Living Wage employer – guaranteeing all its employees a Living Wage of at least €11.50 an hour from 1 January 2016. 

The announcement was made this morning at a special event hosted at SSE’s Ireland HQ in Leopardstown, Co. Dublin, and attended by An Tánaiste Joan Burton TD and Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash TD. 

Almost 750 staff across SSE’s businesses in Ireland including SSE Airtricity – Ireland’s second largest energy provider – will receive at least the Living Wage rate. This rate, set at €11.50 an hour, is designed to ensure that people can cover their basic cost of living including housing, bills, food and work travel.

In addition to being the first corporate in Ireland to voluntarily adopt the Living Wage, SSE is also the first major energy company here to sign-up to its introduction.

Welcoming the announcement, An Tánaiste Joan Burton TD said: “As we secure our economic recovery, we want to be sure that the jobs we have and the jobs we are helping to create are decent, sustainable jobs where workers earn enough money to look after themselves and their families.  The Living Wage Campaign does precisely that and I am very pleased that SSE is now joining the growing number of employers here who believe that everyone of its staff should share in our hard won recovery.”

Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash TD said: “SSE has been a huge supporter of our efforts to introduce a Living Wage Campaign here in Ireland.  The company took part in the Forum on the Living Wage I held in Dublin Castle in September and I am delighted that it is showing its commitment to paying all of its staff a decent wage today.  The voluntary Living Wage campaign is gaining momentum and I would encourage other progressive employers to follow the lead SSE has demonstrated.”

SSE Airtricity Managing Director Stephen Wheeler said: “SSE is proud to become the first large corporate in Ireland to pay its employees the Living Wage.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates that we value the people who work for SSE very highly and that we’re willing to pay our people at a level which shows we mean it. It also shows that SSE is a company which is serious about making a difference. We believe it is a matter of basic fairness that people should be paid a wage which is enough to cover their living expenses.

“By becoming the first large Irish corporate to voluntarily introduce the Living Wage we are playing our part to help create an emerging Living Wage movement in Ireland. In providing this leadership we hope that other large Irish businesses that can afford to do so will join us and get behind the Living Wage movement here.”

As a result of the decision by SSE to become a Living Wage employer here, a total of 61 people – or around 8% of its workforce – will receive wage increases from 1 January 2016. The average wage increase will be €560 per annum with individual increases ranging from €15 to almost €5,000.

SSE is Ireland’s second largest energy provider, supplying gas and electricity to over half a million Irish homes and businesses, and is the country’s largest provider of wind power.

In 2013 the company’s parent SSE plc became the largest FTSE-listed company and the first energy firm in Britain to become an accredited Living Wage employer.