Leading the way on Fair Work

Scottish Government recognised for promoting workforce security and fairness.

The Scottish Government has become the first national administration in the UK to be accredited as a Living Hours employer following commitments to provide secure contracts and flexible hours.

The announcement was made by Fair Work Secretary Neil Gray at the beginning of Living Wage Week, which highlights the benefits to businesses, employees and the economy of paying the real Living Wage.

The Scottish Government champions fair work through its employment practices and policies, such as specifying that organisations applying for public sector grants must pay at least the real Living Wage and provide channels for staff to have a say in the workplace. In 2015 it became the first government in the UK to pay at least the real Living Wage.

On a visit to Carluke food manufacturer R & W Scott, a real Living Wage and Living Hours accredited employer, Mr Gray said:

“This is a very welcome recognition of the Scottish Government’s commitment to and promotion of fair work principles. No one should be working in an insecure, unstable job and not be paid the real Living Wage. Fair work and fair pay make sense for both workers and employers across all sectors, helping to improve staff retention and productivity, reduce recruitment costs and contribute to a skilled and motivated workforce. In turn, that benefits the wider economy, including by boosting spending power in local communities.

“Good progress has been made on the real Living Wage in Scotland, with more than 3,400 employers now accredited and proportionally more over 18s in Scotland earning the real Living Wage than in any other UK country. Now we are looking to go further by championing the real Living Hours scheme.

“However, only full employment powers will allow us to truly shape Scotland’s labour market to support an economy that is fair, green and growing. One that helps to alleviate in work poverty and create more secure, sustainable and satisfying jobs.

“I encourage businesses across Scotland to look at the scheme and sign up to ensure they are providing the best possible work conditions for their staff.”

R & W Scott Managing Director Stephen Currie said:  

“Gaining Living Wage accreditation in 2019 was a fundamental part of really establishing ourselves as a fair and responsible employer. Committing to Living Hours was the next logical step in our journey, and this really helps our employees, especially against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis.

“Our staff are guaranteed an agreed minimum amount of working hours every week. This stability in knowing their regular income allows them arrange things like travel plans and childcare well in advance.

“As a Living Wage and Living Hours accredited employer we also benefit from a stronger employee brand, increasing staff retention and improved workforce morale. We are not facing the same challenges in recruitment as many of our competitors, primarily due to the fair and flexible reputation we have established since accreditation.”


Living Hours accreditation is awarded by Living Wage Scotland and businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • payment of the real Living Wage
  • providing a contract reflecting accurate hours worked and a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week (unless the worker requests otherwise)
  • ensuring at least four weeks’ notice of shifts and guaranteed payment if shifts are cancelled within this period 

The real Living Wage rate of £12.00 for employees outside London was announced in October 2023 and applies to newly accredited employers. All existing accredited employers will need to implement the new rate from 1 May 2024. 

Find out more on the real Living Wage here.


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