Fair pay

Real Living Wage pledge required to get grants

Richard Lochhead
Vision: Richard Lochhead (pic: Terry Murden)

Organisations will have to pay workers at least the real living wage to be considered for a government grant.

The condition, which also requires the provision of channels for staff to have a say in the workplace, applies to organisations receiving grants from Holyrood, enterprise agencies and public bodies.

The requirement, which will be introduced from 1 July, means employees in Scotland would receive £10.90 per hour following the increase announcement in September.

Exceptions may only be applied to emergency funding and where an organisation is heavily dependent on grant funding and paying the real Living Wage would threaten its survival.

The conditionality will be introduced for eligible agriculture grants from 1 April 2024 following ministerial consultation.

The fair work package was announced by Employment and Fair Work Minister Richard Lochhead and Scottish Greens Co-leader Lorna Slater, Minister for Greens Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, on a ministerial visit in Edinburgh.

“The Scottish Government is committed to using public sector investment to drive up wages, tackle inequalities and give employees an effective voice,” said Mr Lochhead.

“This policy is a significant step in strengthening our fair work agenda. For example, in 2021-22 Scottish Enterprise issued £135 million in grants to 953 businesses.

“Fair work and fair pay are good for business. They help improve staff retention and productivity, reduce recruitment costs and contribute to a skilled and motivated workforce.

“Grant conditionality will strengthen our vision that by 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where fair work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and society.”

Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater added: “An effective voice for workers is vital to ensure better terms and conditions, worker wellbeing and developing progressive and fairer work places.

“We will work with employers, workers and trade unions, to continue improving the terms and conditions for employees of organisations applying for a public sector grant.”

Scottish Greens finance spokesperson Ross Greer said: “Our efforts to boost the wages of the lowest paid and to give all workers a stronger voice stands in stark contrast with the UK Government’s relentless attacks on workers and their unions.”

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