Living Wage Week
This week we have been celebrating Living Wage Week 2018. As Minister with responsibility for Fair Work and Business, I have spent the week visiting living wage employees and meeting people who are being paid the living wage rate.
I was delighted to welcome the news that rate of the real Living Wage will increase to £9.00 per hour. This increase will benefit thousands of people and businesses across Scotland.
I would encourage businesses and organisations to recognise the benefits of the real Living Wage which is not only helping to ensure people’s basic pay meets the cost of living and recognising the work they do, but this increase will benefit businesses by increasing staff retention, productivity and boosting morale in the workplace.
The Scottish Government wants Scotland to be a world-leading Fair Work nation and the Living Wage will play an important part in helping achieve this ambition.
Scotland is already the best performing country in the UK in terms of paying the real Living Wage and we are already ahead of the curve when it comes to championing fairness in the workplace.
There are now almost 1,300 Living Wage accredited employers in Scotland while our new Fair Work First strategy will make payment of the Living Wage a condition of even more public contracts and government support grants.
But we want to do more. Our 2018/19 Programme for Government included a commitment to increase the number of employers paying the Living Wage by 7,500 by 2019 as a result of employer accreditation. This commitment is part of our long term target to increase by 25,000 the number of Living Wage recipients
Later this year we will publish our Fair Work Action Plan, setting out the next steps we will take to embed fair work practices in Scotland by 2025. We will also adopt a ‘Fair Work First’ criteria that will see the real Living Wage extended to more contracts and government support grants.
The Scottish Government will continue to take steps to promote fair work. This week’s increase in the real Living Wage will mean employees around the country will get a much needed increase to their pay packet to help them meet the cost of living. That’s the difference paying the real Living Wage makes and for our part, the Scottish Government will continue to take steps to support fair work.
During Living Wage Week we celebrate the leadership of those great Living Wage employers who make this possible.