Feedback gathered during stakeholder engagement found that the actions outlined in the RAP are ARES are generally supported. The consensus was that elevating the knowledge, reach and conditionalities behind the Fair Work principles will be of benefit to Scottish society.
Continued involvement of stakeholders is crucial to the success of the RAP and ARES as they provide unparalleled insight into the viewpoints and lived experience of individuals, communities, and businesses across Scotland. Such insight should be used to further identify key points of intersectionality, support Fair Work implementation in differing sectors and contexts, and utilise data analysis and dissemination to improve Fair Work's application in society.
Advanced consideration of intersectionality
The revised RAP and ARES have taken notable steps to improve consideration of intersectionality. As discussed throughout this assessment, socio-economic disadvantage is intrinsically intersectional as it implicates individuals, groups, and communities without characteristic-based discrimination. However, as also explored, there are certain groups of people who have an increased likelihood of being born into a low socio-economic background or becoming disadvantaged in relation to one or more socio-economic dimensions during their life.
It is highly likely that inclusion of actions specifically referring to socio-economic disadvantage, or intersectionality related to it, would result in improved understanding of who is affected and how. Resultant increased engagement, data analysis and dissemination related to socio-economic disadvantage would also help the Scottish Government to maximise the impact Fair Work can have by identifying priority action areas.
Tailored approach to implementation
Engagement completed thus far has revealed that Fair Work has the potential to negatively impact businesses who would be unable to meet the requirements of the real Living Wage and/or real Living Hours. Small independent businesses with small profit margins, and those in agricultural island communities where seasonal work is crucial to business survivability, were identified through engagement as being particularly susceptible,although implementation of BHA conditionality has been delayed until 1 April 2024. The impact of these businesses failing could be most acutely felt by those in lower socioeconomic positions.
Furthermore, the fulfilment of effective voice channels means different things depending on size of business, type of contract employees are under, and time available to administer and oversee collective voice groups.
Adopting a tailored approach to implementation, for example defining how appropriate channels for effective voice can vary in type depending on size of business (trade union or employee forum), would reassure employers that it is a conditionality they can commit to achieving. Employer support networks, and dissemination of information regarding available grants, would be considerable steps to instil confidence that real Living Wage is attainable.
Maintaining the ongoing success of Fair Work, bearing in mind the timescales of actions such as 1.1 and 1.3.1, would be ensured by continued engagement with employers, workers, and workers' voice channels. Engagement that is tailored to understand lessons learnt and the experience of those administering and/or receiving Fair Work investment would ensure the success of future implementation and the benefits being felt by those with lived experience of poverty.
Monitoring and evaluation
A robust monitoring and evaluation framework for this and Impact Assessment is necessary to demonstrate progress against the RAP and ARES by 2025, in line with the ambition of Scotland being a leading fair work nation by 2025. Developing this framework in collaboration with relevant stakeholders is vital for measuring progress and will inspire confidence that tangible progress is being made to stakeholders.
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