Ash Denham MSP has called on businesses and charities in Edinburgh to follow Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s ‘lead’ by signing up to become an accredited Living Wage employer, which ensures staff and third-party contractors are paid a wage independently calculated each year on what employees and their families need to live on.

The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home became Living Wage employers in June ensuring everyone working at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, regardless of whether they are direct employees or third-party contracted staff, receive a minimum wage of £9 per hour. This rate is significantly higher than the UK Government’s minimum of £7.70 for under-25s and £8.21 per hour for over-25s.

Hundreds of employers in Edinburgh have signed up for the Living Wage Scotland scheme since it was established in 2014 by the Poverty Alliance and the Living Wage Foundation – an initiative funded in Scotland by the Scottish Government.

Ms. Denham, who is also a Living Wage employer, said:

“I was delighted to visit Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home recently to congratulate the charity on becoming a real Living Wage employer, which now sees their staff and third-party contractors paid a minimum of £9 per hour.

“The Home is one of the oldest animal welfare charities in Scotland and is used by thousands of people every year when looking for a lost pet or to re-home one of the residents they care for, so it’s great to see such an iconic Edinburgh charity adopting this important initiative.

“It’s fantastic they have decided to become Living Wage employers, which will see someone who was previously earning an annual wage of £15,015 now receive £17,500. It allows employees to perhaps spend more time with their children, to give up a part-time job, or not to worry about affording the basics to get by.

“It also significantly helps in the fight to tackle the rising tide of in-work poverty, as 67% of children living in poverty have at least one parent in work. Paying the real living wage is a welcome boost to family incomes and can make a real difference to people’s lives and their wellbeing.

“I hope other employers in my Edinburgh Eastern constituency and across the capital follow Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s lead by becoming accredited Living Wage employers too.”

Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, Director of Operations/Deputy to the CEO at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said:

“We at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home feel enormously proud that our organisation has taken the lead on Living Wage in the Scottish animal welfare sector. The real Living Wage represents the empowerment and betterment of staff in a world where inequalities continue to grow. It’s the right time to acknowledge that valuing staff should not only be set in organisational statements but also in organisational action.

“We’re aware that animal welfare and animal care roles as a sector and profession are often not well paid, they can often be described as careers of passion rather than financial reward. We have changed that notion by embracing the real Living Wage and by doing this moving the sector to recognising the skill, professionalism and expertise that is required to work with animals – particularly rescue animals.

“Ultimately by valuing our people and what they do, we are valuing our animals, the quality of their care and the second chance at life that we hope to give them with a new family. Happy people means happy animals.”

Jack Evans, Living Wage Scotland Manager added:

“We are delighted to have welcomed Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home to the Living Wage movement.

“We are a movement of over 1,500 Scottish employers who together want to go further than the government minimum to make sure that all their staff earn enough to live on. We have lots of smaller employers as well as larger and iconic Scottish employers like SSE, Standard Life, Barrs, Mackies, Johnstons of Elgin, D.C. Thomson and many more.

“These businesses recognise that the Living Wage accreditation is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like Edinbugh Dog and Cat Home, join us because they too believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”


Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home was founded in 1883 and works in partnership with Police and local authorities to rescue, reunite and rehome lost, stray and abandoned dogs and cats across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

It has an open-door policy, accepting any dog or cat that comes through the door in need, whatever shape, breed or size, and staff work tirelessly to find a permanent loving home for every animal, however long it takes.

It costs around £2.4 million a year to run Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.

In 2018, the Home cared for 2,367 dogs and 771 cats.

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