Fair Work Action Plan - Easy read version
What is fair work?
Fair work means the right to be treated fairly at work and have fair conditions of work including pay.
Fair work is for everyone.
This right is:
- in the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- an important part of the economic plan of the Scottish Government
Our economy is how the country produces and uses goods, services and money.
By 2025 we want people in Scotland to have a working life where:
- fair work makes life better for people, businesses, and organisations
- women, disabled people and people from a racialised minority have a better experience at work
A racialised minority is a group of people who may be treated unfairly because of their race or their ethnicity.
People from an ethnic group might have the same language or culture.
Work that has gone well is:
- the disability employment gap is the lowest it has been since 2016
The disability employment gap is the gap between:
- the rates of disabled people who have a job
- and the rates of people who are not disabled who have a job
- the gender pay gap in Scotland for full-time employees is almost half of what it is in the UK
The gender pay gap is the difference between the average pay for women compared to the average pay for men.
- the pay gap for all employees is less than the UK gap and has been since 1997
- Scotland has more than 2 thousand 9 hundred real living wage employers
This is 5 times as many as in the rest of the UK.
At the moment the real living wage is £10.90 an hour - based on what people need to meet the cost of living.
We know more work must be done:
- more than 2 out of 3 people on low pay cannot keep up with bills and paying back money that they owe
- nearly 2 out of 3 employees feel they are working too hard for too long
- more than 1 in 10 employees would like to work at least 15 hours less
- nearly 1 in 3 employees feel their work has a bad effect on their mental health
- nearly 1 in 4 employees feel their work has a bad effect on their physical health
- disabled people are more likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people
- people from a racialised minority are more likely to be unemployed than white people
- women are more likely to be paid less than men
- around 1 in 6 women employees earn less than the real living wage
Britain leaving the European Union, Covid and the cost of living crisis are making things very difficult for people and businesses.
Costs for businesses have gone up.
This makes things more expensive and makes inequality worse.
Inequality means not being treated fairly or having the same choices and chances.
These problems are worse for:
- people living with more than 1 inequality like a woman from a racialised minority
If we work to have less inequality it will help our economy to grow.
Research shows that companies with good gender diversity in the top management teams were more likely to make more money
Gender diversity means having a fair representation of people who are male, female or who see themselves in a different way.
We know that not everyone gets the same choices and chances.
Some people face occupational segregation that moves people into certain types of jobs.
For example, women often take jobs with lower pay, like social care and working in shops, because they offer part-time jobs that support women who are parents or carers.
Stereotypes make it harder for people to get jobs.
A stereotype is a very simple or general view of a person or group
- disabled people are often seen as people who need to be looked after, rather than as people who can use their skills and talents
- people from racialised minorities are often seen as people who have not done well at school and who are not good at reading or writing
If we do not change stereotypes, there will still be inequality.
We have taken an intersectional approach to this new action plan.
This means we have looked at:
- how policies and laws affect people and their different identities
- how people may not be treated fairly because of their identity
An identity is how you see yourself.
For example – a disabled woman who is a Muslim might be treated unfairly because:
- of her faith or religion
- of her ethnicity or race if she is Asian
- of her disability
- she is a woman
If the Scottish Government had full employment powers we could have a better, fairer working life for everyone in Scotland including:
- being able to offer flexible working – when and where you work
- giving workers stronger workplace rights
- giving young people the same minimum wage as everyone else
The Scottish Government will:
- continue to press the UK Government to make changes so that working conditions are fairer
- be against any changes to employment and trade unions that would make workers have less rights
A trade union is an organisation that looks after the interests of workers by talking to employers about pay, conditions, and things that workers are worried about.
- encourage the UK Government to make new laws about pay and time off for parents including:
- maternity and paternity pay
- shared parental leave
- paid miscarriage leave
- encourage the UK Government to change laws to make racial inequality better
For example we want employers to have to report their ethnicity pay gap - the difference in pay between workers from different ethnic backgrounds.
Using the powers the Scottish Parliament already has we have:
- had Fair Work First rules as part of £4 billion given to public services since 2019
Public services provide goods and services we all use like schools, hospitals and councils.
- said that employers who get Scottish Government contracts must:
- pay the real living wage
- have ways for employees to raise concerns or worries
- published new guidance about this
- extended Fair Work First rules to include flexible working and stopping 'fire and rehire' – when a worker is sacked and employed again with worse conditions of employment
Our aims – what we want to achieve
- work to expand the voice of Scotland's workers, encouraging employers to offer ways for workers to raise concerns and worries
- have more people earning at least the real living wage
- keep encouraging employers to pay their workers at least the real living wage.
- reduce the gender pay gap in Scotland by the end of May 2026
- make sure we are doing well compared to the UK and other countries.
- reduce the disability employment gap by at least half by 2038
- have more people from a racialised minority in jobs
- have more employers working to stop racial inequality
The action plan
This action plan sits alongside our new anti-racist employment strategy.
It uses information from:
- the Fair Work Nation Consultation when we asked people what they thought about Fair Work
- our work with people and organisations about the work we need to do
In 2022 more than 1 in 5 of all workers had jobs in Scottish public services.
Public spending in Scotland in 2021/22 was more than £99 billion.
Money that is given to public services should help to make the economy better.
The Fair Work Action Plan looks at 5 main things.
Public sector and the role of leadership
The Scottish Government will set a good example as an employer and in our work and we will share what we have learnt.
We will continue to make sure fair work is part of all public services.
Employers and the support that is available
We will support employers to use the information and support available to have fair work in their organisation.
We will work with other organisations to make new information that can help.
Support for people to prepare for, get and keep fair work
We will work with our partner organisations to develop resources to support workers to get, keep and progress in fair work.
Making Fair Work the standard that is expected
We will work across government with employers and partners to promote fair work and make sure it happens across the Scottish economy.
Getting facts, figures and information
We will keep getting facts, figures and information to help us know what stops fair work from happening and how we can make this better.
We will check if work is going well and make reports about the work in the action plan.
More information about the plan is available at: gov.scot
Copyright images © Photosymbols. Prepared by Disability Equality Scotland
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