Becoming a Fair Work nation: consultation

This consultation seeks views on achieving this vision and ensuring Fair Work remains at the heart of our labour market interventions, particularly in the context of COVID-19 and EU Exit, by identifying the relevant challenges and opportunities for Fair Work across the Scottish economy.

What does a Fair Work Nation look like by 2025?

The Scottish Government believes Fair Work should be available for all workers and is a mechanism for improving the productivity and success of all employers. The Fair Work Convention is clear that Fair Work is key to creating productive and innovative workplaces that deliver worker wellbeing (Case Studies).

Government and its agencies, employers, workers and their unions or other representatives all have a role to play in making Scotland a Fair Work Nation. Fair Work supports both economic and social policy and, therefore, benefits people and communities as much as employers and the economy. Our wellbeing economy will be built on the principles of sustainable economic growth, tackling inequalities, and delivering a green recovery to meet our climate change targets and wider environmental objectives. Employers are the engine room of our jobs and growth prospects, whether small, medium or large organisations, social enterprises or not for profit, and we will continue to work with them to create the conditions needed to deliver on our collective ambitions.

How workers experience work has implications beyond the workplace and throughout life. Fair Work means increased financial security, and better physical health and mental wellbeing. It means equal opportunities at work, including to learn and develop and progress, and to enjoy a culture and environment free of bullying and discrimination, helping people live more fulfilling lives. We know that the best decisions for workers and employers are those made collaboratively. We know that jobs providing security of work, hours and income, reduce inequality. They enable people to exercise choice and control over their lives and reduce stress. More than this, Fair Work will mean different things to different people at different points in their working lives. As labour market and workplace needs evolve, everyone should continue to be able to get and keep a good job and progress in their career and provide the foundation for a secure and satisfying retirement.

Fair Work is also a model for innovation and success, with many employers in Scotland already implementing Fair Work practices, providing safe and secure working environments and promoting positive workplace cultures where staff are engaged and have their voices heard. Evidence makes clear that employers will reap the benefits of a fairly rewarded, respected, engaged, committed, diverse and more agile workforce, through improved recruitment and retention, performance, innovation and productivity (Case Studies). Ensuring workers feel valued, respected and supported can improve wellbeing and help an organisation become an employer of choice. Fair Work supports a more committed, better skilled and adaptable workforce who can spot challenges and opportunities, solve problems, offer insight and ideas for improvement, therefore creating real value[2]. This will be particularly important as we make the changes required to transition to a net-zero carbon economy, ensuring that change is fair for Scotland’s workforce.

Working with our partners, through delivery of our existing labour market action plans on Fair Work, Disability Employment, Race Employment, and Gender Pay Gap, by 2025 we know we will want to see:

  • Improvements across key issues such as employment and pay gaps for women, minority ethnic and disabled workers, security of income and hours, and increased collective bargaining, with progress to be measured through the indicators in the Fair Work Convention’s measurement framework and the National Performance Framework.
  • The full roll-out of Fair Work First criteria across the Scottish public sector, to help improve the working conditions for those delivering our public services. By Summer 2022, we will introduce a requirement on public sector grants recipients to pay at least the real Living Wage to all employees.
  • Improved effective voice for workers through appropriate mechanisms, including increased trade union membership and collective bargaining coverage; with targeted actions towards developing coverage across under-represented sectors, specifically social care; early years and child care; hospitality; and construction.
  • Reduced pay gaps and increased career opportunities for women, minority ethnic and disabled workers that will improve their incomes and build a more diverse and skilled workforce.
  • Better pay and conditions and job security for all, with more options for flexible and family friendly working.
  • Improved worker wellbeing and safer workplaces which reduce accidents during work.
  • An agile skills system that helps people throughout their career and responds to changing workplace needs, based on a shared investment between employers, employees and government.



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