Senior staff at a York mental health charity have forgone a pay increase to allow raises for other colleagues.

The dozen or so staff earning more than £47,500 at The Retreat agreed not to have an increase to allow other staff to be given rises of 1.3 per cent to 3.71 per cent, the charity said.

The decision is part of a move to make The Retreat a “living wage” employer, paying a wage higher than the legal minimum wage to reflect the amount needed to meet a basic standard of living.

Jenny McAleese, chief executive at The Retreat, said: “Despite the challenging financial climate we want to maintain our commitment towards becoming a living wage employer and reward our staff fairly for the hard work they put in every day of the year.”

The staff who have givenn up pay rises include senior managers and doctors. Living wage employers pay staff at least £7.45 an hour, compared to the minimum wage of £6.31 for adults and £5.03 for those aged between 18 and 21.

A spokesman for the Heslington-based charity said: “As employers of around 260 people, The Retreat has been working towards becoming a living wage employer for the last two years and this step now takes us significantly closer towards that goal.

“We decided to implement this increase to reflect the hard work done by the employees and their contribution over the year. We also wanted to support our staff as the cost of living continues to increase.”