Scheme to promote fair working hours to be introduced

The scheme aims to encourage businesses to provide secure contracts and flexible hours.

Scheme to promote fair working hours to be introduced iStock

A new scheme to encourage businesses to provide secure contracts and flexible hours is to be launched in Scotland.

The Scottish Government said the accreditation scheme would also seek to ensure that firms are paying staff the real Living Wage of £9.50 per hour.

It will be introduced as part of a recognition that in addition to payment of the real Living Wage, the number and frequency of work hours are critical to tackling in-work poverty.

In order for businesses to be certified for the scheme, they must provide payment of the real Living Wage, provide a contract reflecting accurate hours worked and a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week (unless the worker requests otherwise), as well as ensuring at least four weeks’ notice of shifts and guaranteed payment if shifts are cancelled within this period.

The scheme will be supported by £380,000 of funding and is to be administered by the Poverty Alliance. They will begin reaching out to prospective employers on August 1 to start the accreditation process.

‘Fair work is at the heart of our economic recovery.’

Richard Lochhead, fair work minister

Fair work minister Richard Lochhead encouraged businesses across Scotland to sign up to the scheme.

“No one should be working in an insecure, unstable job that doesn’t pay the real Living Wage,” he said.

“Good progress has been made on the real Living Wage in Scotland, with over 2000 employers now being accredited and helping to reduce in-work poverty. 

“We are going further and will now introduce a national Living Hours Accreditation Scheme for Scotland in the first 100 days of this Parliament.

“Together with the Poverty Alliance and Living Wage Scotland, the new Living Hours Accreditation Scheme will help to alleviate in work poverty and create more secure, sustainable and satisfying jobs.”

He added: “I encourage businesses across Scotland to look at the scheme and sign up to ensure you are providing the best possible work conditions for your valued staff.

“Fair work is at the heart of our economic recovery and it is only right that workers across the country are in jobs that can provide secure, consistent contracts and pay a real Living Wage.”

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “Building on the strength of the Living Wage movement, we need to be more ambitious in finding ways to support employers to make a stronger commitment to fair work practice.

“By working with our 2000-strong network of accredited Living Wage employers, we will support employers to become Living Hours accredited, helping to tackle the problem of insecure work and in-work poverty in Scotland.”