Following research, a KPMG report has claimed that one in five UK workers is paid less than required for a basic standard of living.
In the report KPMG states that nearly five million people failed to command the living wage, which is defined as a pay packet which enables a basic living standard.
According to the figures up to 90 per cent of waiters and bar staff are failing to receive the basic standard of living rate, which currently stands at £8.20 an hour in London and £7.20 in the rest of the UK.
Unlike the National Minimum Wage, which is set at £6.19 an hour for those aged 21 and older, paying a standard of living rate is voluntary.
Head of corporate affairs at KPMG Marianne Fallon said: “Times are difficult for many people, but of course those on the lowest pay are suffering the most.
“Paying a living wage makes a huge difference to the individuals and their families and yet does not actually cost an employer much more.
“Tackling in-work poverty is also vital if we are to enable more people to improve their life prospects and increase social mobility in this country.”
Incoming general secretary of the Trades Union Congress Frances O’Grady said: “It is shocking that in this day and age, one in five workers is still earning less than is needed to maintain a decent standard of living.
“The living wage is not a luxury, and means that low-paid workers do not have to make tough choices over whether they can afford the everyday things that most of us take for granted, such as their fuel bill or a winter coat for their children.
“Many more employers could afford to adopt the living wage, and we hope that many more decide to pay it in the coming months. Now more than ever is the time for employers to put an end to poverty pay.”
However, Mike Cherry, policy chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, argued that because of market determinations the living wage was an unaffordable aspiration for many employers.
“Every employer would want to be as reasonable as they possibly can, but in the current economic climate it is not going to be possible for those sectors that have traditionally been unable to pay the national minimum wage,” he remarked.