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High street retailer Marks & Spencer has announced it is to pay UK workers in the Real Living Wage of £12 per hour and make “significant improvements” in family leave policies.

The company is investing £89m to raise pay for store colleagues, and a further £5m annual investment to enhance its maternity, paternity, and adoption policies.

Our vision is to be the most trusted retailer – and that starts with being the most trusted employer,” said chief executive Stuart Machin. “That’s why today we’re making our biggest ever investment in our retail pay offer to recognise our colleagues for the vital role they play each day.”

From the start of April, hourly wages for the retailer’s 40,000 UK customer assistants will rise from £10.90 to £12, while those in London will see an increase from £12.05 to £13.15.

UK team support managers will see their hourly rate increase from £12.20 to £13.05, while for those in London, it will increase from £13.35 to £14.20.

In addition, the company is offering six weeks’ paternity leave at full pay, and also almost doubling its maternity and adoption leave to 26 weeks – also at full pay.

“I’m delighted to announce some significant improvements to our family leave policies to support colleagues through life’s big moments,” Machin said.

The stock was up 0.8% at 240.7p by 1051 GMT.

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