Fair work plan launched to help more people earn Living Wage

The Scottish Government want the number of people earning the Living Wage to increase by 25,000 in the next three years.

A plan to improve fairness in the workplace has been launched with a target for boosting the wages of the lowest paid.

Currently 80.6% of Scottish workers — approximately 1,955,000 people — earn at least the real Living Wage of £9 per hour, but the Scottish Government want to see a 1% rise by 2022.

The Fair Work Action Plan also sets out measures to help employers adopt fairer working practices, including a new online ‘Fair Work service’ for small firms to access support and guidance.

It urges firms to not use “inappropriate” zero-hour contracts, for example where staff are working regular hours, tackle gender pay gaps and commit to investment in skills and training for workers.

The Scottish Government warns that the fair work criteria will be applied to all appropriate grants and funding they provide for businesses, and extend the range of public sector contracts they cover.

Business and Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “We are committed to Fair Work because it means more security, decent pay and a greater voice for workers.

“On top of that it drives innovation and productivity to improve businesses and increase profits.  It’s good for business and good for Scotland.

“There are many employers already championing the dimensions of fair work and there is an increasing evidence base demonstrating the benefits to workers and to business. We must build on this and convey a strong business case for Fair Work to employers across Scotland.

“Scotland has made and will continue to make great strides in fair work to underpin its economic success, as well as the wellbeing and prosperity of its people, communities and businesses.

“We may not yet have the constitutional power to make fair work a legal requirement, but with this plan and the financial power of government we can try to make it a practical reality for many.”

Welcoming the Scottish Government’s publication of the Fair Work Action Plan, Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary Grahame Smith said: “The Fair Work Action Plan demonstrates a commitment to using the powers the Government has at its disposal to deliver fair work, which is good for workers and good for business.

“Through Fair Work First, it lays the foundations for ensuring that fair work is mainstreamed throughout the Scottish Government’s role as a provider of major contracts and grants for business.

“Crucially, it recognises the fundamental importance of strong unions in achieving fair work.”

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