On April 1, the National Living Wage becomes a reality, with the minimum legal hourly rate for employees over the age of 25 rising to £7.20. Do you see the National Living Wage as a burden and something that interferes with the way you run your business, or something you should be proud of?

I visited Bath recently by rail and bought a cup of tea from Dashi in Bath Spa station. I couldn’t help but notice the window stickers proclaiming its pride in paying the National Living Wage. Last Autumn, Lidl had banners outside its stores stating that it was paying its employees at a rate above the legal minimum.

Independent retailer David Charman, of Spar Parkfoot, proudly pays his employees the National Living Wage and has joined the many national companies and independent businesses on the Living Wage Foundation’s website.

The trade press has reported the discomfort felt by a great number of retailers in the convenience and newsagent industry. Other sectors are equally worried about the impact of the Government’s NLW policy. Moving from £6.85 per hour, to £7.20 in April, and on to £9.00 in 2020, is a big ask for many businesses.

What Dashi and Lidl have shown is that there is a positive upside to paying the Living Wage to their employees. Bath Spa Station Dashi competes with Starbucks for customers and its bold statement on the Living Wage is a key difference.

Customers and potential employees will notice which businesses are paying their staff better than the minimum. The marketing opportunity that Dashi has taken is compelling, as its bold statement will certainly mean that my wife and I will chose them every time I go to Bath. If we have made this choice I am sure many others have too.

If you pay your employees more than the National Minimum Wage, how do you let your customers and community know?