Durham County Council considers minimum wage
Durham County Council is considering a new minimum wage for its employees.
The scheme would mean the lowest-paid workers such as lunchtime supervisors, caretakers, cleaners and school crossing patrols would receive at least £7.43 per hour - 93p more than the National Minimum Wage.
The new wage would cost the authority £1m a year and be regularly reviewed, the council said.
The council's cabinet will discuss the plan next week.
More than 2,500 employees, including 1,800 working in schools across the county, could benefit if the scheme is agreed.
The proposals, which would come into effect from 1 January, 2015, have been put together by a Living Wage Working Group set up by the council.
Alan Napier, Durham County Council's cabinet member for resources, said: "This scheme is a fair, affordable and sustainable way of introducing a realistic and deliverable living wage for our employees.
"Independent research shows that a living wage can reduce absenteeism and enhances the quality of work produced by staff.
"Furthermore, as lower paid employees tend to spend a high proportion of their wages with local shops and businesses, there should also be an added benefit to the local economy."