Scotland leads on the Real Living Wage

A Fair Work approach to the cost of living crisis.

A record proportion of employees in Scotland are being paid the real Living Wage (rLW) or more, new figures reveal.

The Office for National Statistics’ Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows 91% of employees aged 18 and over earned at least the rLW in 2022, an increase from 85.5% in 2021 and the highest proportion since the rLW series began in 2012.

In comparison, 87.5% of employees aged 18 and over in England are paid the rLW or more, 88.2% in Wales and 85.4% in Northern Ireland.

The ONS survey also confirms that the Gender Pay Gap is lower in Scotland than across the UK as a whole. For full-time employees the gap is 3.7% compared with the UK figure of  8.3%.

The Scottish Government is committed to tackling the cost of living crisis with a Fair Work approach, ensuring workers are paid at least the rLW - currently £10.90 per hour - and supporting more women into jobs through flexible working opportunities.

Minister for Employment and Fair Work Richard Lochhead said:

“The Scottish Government’s commitment to promoting payment of the real Living Wage is a fundamental part of our National Strategy for Economic Transformation and a key cost of living policy to deliver a fairer and more equal society.

“The ONS figures confirm that Scottish employers are leading the way and we can be proud of the progress that has been made.

“There is still work to be done on tackling the gender pay gap, but we are taking steps to make this happen. We will publish our refreshed Fair Work Action Plan later this year, outlining the actions needed to close the gap further and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. We will continue to work with employers, employability providers and partners to achieve this aim.” 


Read the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings statistics in full here.

The Survey’s estimates are for April 2022 when the rLW rate was £9.90 - and £11.05 for employees in London. The rate of £10.90 for employees outside London was announced in September 2022. Employers should implement the rise as soon as possible but have until May 2023 to implement it. Find out more on the real Living Wage here.

In 2022, the gender pay gap for all employees in Scotland was 12.2% compared to the gender pay gap for all employees in the UK at 14.9%.

The Scottish Government will publish its refreshed Fair Work Action Plan later this year.


Media enquiries

Back to top