Sheffield schools should introduce the living wage for staff providing children with meals, council chiefs say.
The city council’s cabinet made the call after a wage increase for more than 300 staff at the authority’s school meals contractor Taylor Shaw was negotiated earlier this year.
The living wage is worth £7.65 an hour in the UK compared to a minimum wage of £6.50, for all its lowest paid employees.
It will be paid to Taylor Shaw staff from September.
Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families, urged other self-managed schools, academies and some faith schools in Sheffield who do not receive school meals directly from within the council’s school catering contract to do the same.
She said: “Many of these employees are low paid women, working hard to support their families.
“My gran worked in a school kitchen for more than 20 years and I know what hard work it is, but also how important. To some children, their school meal might be the only hot meal they get that day and good nutritious food raises attainment.
“The council has introduced the living wage for its own employees against a backdrop of Government cuts to budgets and services, based on a firm belief that this is the right thing to do for the lowest paid in our society.
“I would encourage other schools to work with their providers of school meals to do the same as soon as possible for the good of all their employees working in schools across the city.
There are 54 schools in Sheffield which are not part of the school catering contract.
The council has also been working to help schools cook hot food on site as some did not have the right facilities.