Early learning and childcare service model for 2020: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to the joint Scottish Government and COSLA consultation on the new Early Learning and Childcare service model for 2020.

Chapter 8 The living wage

The consultation document describes the Scottish Government's commitment to provide funding to enable payment of the 'real' Living Wage to staff delivering funded ELC entitlement. Written respondents were asked in an open text question, which areas they would look to be addressed in the technical guidance note for implementing this commitment. The following points were raised in response to this question:

  • The risk of creating different pay scales within the ELC sector
  • Affordability
  • Wages for different types of staff in the funded ELC sector
  • Clarification for sole providers
  • Business sustainability.

Each of these points is explored in more detail below.

8.1 The risk of creating different pay scales within the ELC sector

Most respondents who answered this question used this as an opportunity to express their concern that the Living Wage commitment should apply to all ELC staff working in funded and non-funded provision. Respondents raised that failing to do this would risk devaluing the work of those who work with the youngest children in ELC services. It was also argued that this could have a detrimental impact on the quality of provision available to this group as more qualified and experienced staff would be incentivised by higher wages to focus on older, eligible children. This point was raised by a large majority of local government organisations and most representative bodies.

8.2 Affordability

Respondents also raised that the technical guidance was less of a concern than ensuring that the funding rate providers received was high enough to allow for the payment of the Living Wage. This point was raised most frequently by private nurseries. It was argued that the funding rate allocated to providers should take account of overheads, other staff costs and the number of staff members requiring the Living Wage; and that the technical guidance should illustrate how the rate has been calculated. In general, respondents were very supportive of providing the Living Wage but felt they would be unable to if funding levels did not increase. It was also argued that as the Living Wage increases in line with inflation, this should be built into the funding rate and closely monitored.

8.3 Applying the Living Wage commitment to different types of staff in the funded ELC sector

There were a number of areas identified by respondents as requiring further clarification. Respondents felt unclear as to whether the Living Wage commitment applied to all staff working in the funded ELC sector, for example cooks or cleaners.

There also appeared to be confusion about how the Living Wage commitment would apply to childminders who care for both funded and non-funded children.

8.4 Business Sustainability

Finally, respondents mentioned that for providers to introduce the Living Wage into their business would mean raising the wages of all staff to ensure that salaries acknowledged different levels of expertise and responsibility. There was concern that this would not be sustainable for some providers.


Email: Euan Carmichael

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