Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women: position statement

Our position statement on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Article 11: Employment

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular:

(a) The right to work as an inalienable right of all human beings;

(b) The right to the same employment opportunities, including the application of the same criteria for selection in matters of employment;

(c) The right to free choice of profession and employment, the right to promotion, job security and all benefits and conditions of service, and the right to receive vocational training and retraining, including apprenticeships, advanced vocational training and recurrent training;

(d) The right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to equal treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as equality of treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work;

(e) The right to social security, particularly in cases of retirement, unemployment, sickness, invalidity and old age and other incapacity to work, as well as the right to paid leave;

(f) The right to protection of health and to safety in working conditions, including the safeguarding of the function of reproduction.

2. In order to prevent discrimination against women on the grounds of marriage or maternity and to ensure their effective right to work, States Parties shall take appropriate measures:

(a) To prohibit, subject to the imposition of sanctions, dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy or of maternity leave and discrimination in dismissals on the basis of marital status;

(b) To introduce maternity leave with pay or with comparable social benefits without loss of former employment, seniority or social allowances;

(c) To encourage the provision of the necessary supporting social services to enable parents to combine family obligations with work responsibilities and participation in public life, in particular through promoting the establishment and development of a network of child- care facilities;

(d) To provide special protection to women during pregnancy in types of work proved to be harmful to them.

3. Protective legislation relating to matters covered in this article shall be reviewed periodically in the light of scientific and technological knowledge and shall be revised, repealed or extended as necessary.

11.1 Living Wage

The Scottish Government actively promotes payment of the real Living Wage of £8.75 per hour, which is paid to all of its employees who are 18 years old and over.

The Scottish Government has long championed payment of the Living Wage and the real benefits to Scotland's economy of treating people more fairly. It has demonstrated its commitment by becoming an Accredited Living Wage Employer and by reaching our challenging target of over 1,000 Accredited Living Wage employers by autumn 2017.

The Scottish Government is using all the powers at its disposal to promote fair pay and conditions, and continues to encourage every organisation, regardless of size, sector or location, to ensure that all members of staff receive a fair level of pay.

The Scottish Government committed to paying the Living Wage to adult social care workers from 1 October 2016, and has been working closely with health and social care partnerships and providers to make delivery successful. This is an ambitious commitment, which will allow councils to commission adult social care from the independent and voluntary sectors on the basis that care workers are paid the real Living Wage, giving up to 40,000 people, mainly women, doing some of the most valuable work in Scotland a well-deserved pay rise.

Fair pay is also at the heart of the planned expansion of early years and childcare to 1,140 hours in 2020. The Scottish Government will enable payment of the Living Wage to all childcare staff delivering the funded entitlement by 2020.

11.2 Public Sector Pay

In December 2017 the Scottish Government published Public Sector Pay Policy for 2018-19 for devolved public bodies demonstrates a progressive approach to pay. It is designed to support the economy, tackle inequality and demonstrate commitment to investing in our high quality services for all. Women are highly represented in the public sector workforce.

The Pay Policy is underpinned by commitment to the real Living Wage and to lifting the 1% public sector pay cap. As part of the package to secure support for the Budget Bill, the Scottish Government has raised the threshold of the guaranteed 3% pay increase from £30,000 to £36,500. This decision means that the guaranteed 3% pay increase now has the potential to benefit 75% of our public sector workforce.

It will now provide for an increase of up to 2% on the cost of baseline salaries of those earning between £36,500 and £80,000.

A basic pay increase of up to £1,600 for those earning over £80,000 – recognising there is a need for the most senior leaders in the public sector to take a lead in demonstrating restraint in their pay settlements. This Pay Policy now goes further on delivering a fair deal for public sector workers. It goes further to support those on lower incomes and balances the need to protect public sector jobs and services while delivering value for money for the people of Scotland.

Significantly the Pay Policy increases the opportunity to use savings (up to 1% of paybill) to address inequalities (gender pay gaps, equal pay issues, etc.)

11.3 Employment Rate

As of March 2018 compared to the UK, Scotland has a higher female employment rate (71.5% vs. 70.9%), a lower female unemployment rate (3.8% vs. 4.4%) and a lower female inactivity rate (25.6% vs. 25.7%).

11.4 Gender Pay Gap

In Scotland, the gender pay gap for full-time employees decreased from 7.7% in 2015 to 6.6% in 2017. This is below the UK wide gender pay gap of 9.1%. The full-time pay gap is down from 11.9% in 2007 and 16.7% in 1999. The official measure of the gender pay gap is median hourly earnings excluding overtime for full-time workers. Stakeholders also use the mean and others use the respective median and mean for all workers.

There are many drivers of the gender pay gap and no one solution to closing it. The Scottish Government has committed to undertake a scoping exercise to determine the feasibility of having a coordinated cross Government action plan aligned to the Labour Market Strategy. The second session of a working group to take this action forward has taken place with stakeholders such as Close the Gap and Engender taking part.

In February 2016, the Scottish Government reduced the threshold for listed public authorities to report their gender pay gap and publish statements on equal pay and occupational segregation, from those with more than 150 employees to those with more than 20 employees. The Scottish Government are providing funding of £205,000 to Close the Gap for July 2017 - June 2018 to challenge and change employment practices and workplace cultures to support gender equality and close the pay gap.

11.5 Women in Enterprise

In Scotland the Women in Enterprise Action Framework was launched on 4 March, it is being led by partners from all sectors to deliver actions. A refresh of the Framework, was published on 31 August 2017, identifying priority areas of action and how best these actions can be collaboratively supported. The Scottish Government is doubling the overall support from £200,000 in 2016/17 to £400,000 in 2017/18 into actions delivered through the Women in Enterprise Action Framework. At least three projects are sharing the funding:

Women's Enterprise Ambassadors Project. The programme provides a public platform for case studies and good practice examples of women on the enterprise journey. This year, ten new Ambassadors will be recruited and trained, and their business case studies and personal stories will achieve significant reach.

Investing Women's Catalyst Programme. Investing Women are a Scottish social enterprise which supports women-led businesses. Their Catalyst education programme aims to increase the investment-readiness of women-led businesses and to educate and encourage successful businesswomen towards investing. Through workshops, conferences and other platforms, over 1,000 participants have engaged in the programme; creating a positive impact and a healthy return on investment.

Business Women Scotland's delivery of the #BWSLiveEvents programme which informs women about the support landscape for female entrepreneurs and encourages women to network and gain confidence to grow their businesses.

11.6 Improving access to employment for women with disabilities

On 2 December 2016 the Minister for Social Security launched A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Our Delivery Plan to 2021 for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The plan represents the culmination of over two years of detailed discussion, negotiation and co- production with disabled people's organisations and with individual disabled people. Implementation of the plan is now under way across Government and our partnership with the sector will continue as we drive forward the specific actions which have been identified. Specific actions in the plan include:

  • Piloting a work experience scheme specifically for young disabled people;
  • Actively promoting the Department for Work and Pensions' Access to Work scheme to employers and disabled people to ensure a higher uptake and use of the scheme in Scotland;
  • Explore innovative ways of integrating health, disability and employment support in Scotland;
  • Supporting disabled young people through the Developing the Young Workforce Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy;
  • Removing the barriers that have previously prevented young disabled people entering Modern Apprenticeships ( MA), through the implementation of The Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland;
  • Provide young disabled people with the highest level of Modern Apprenticeship funding;
  • Publishing information on equal pay policy and occupational segregation for disabled people;
  • Delivering a disability internship programme;
  • Holding a major congress on Disability, Employment and the Workplace.

11.7 Improving access to employment for Minority Ethnic Women

The Scottish Government is determined to advance race equality and are taking forward a range of actions to tackle the causes of the pay gaps. This includes implementing the Developing the Young Workforce Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy recommendations, increasing flexible childcare provision; promotion of the living wage, and launching the Workplace Equalities Fund. This aim of this £500,000 fund is to address long standing barriers in accessing the labour market and reducing employment inequalities so that everyone – irrespective of gender, race, age or disability – has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Individuals from different ethnic backgrounds enrich Scotland socially, culturally and economically. The Scottish Government is committed to doing all it can to address the barriers that prevent people from minority ethnic communities from realising their true potential and accessing employment. One project under the Scottish Government Returner's Fund that specifically supports black and minority ethnic women into the manufacturing sector workforce.

Furthermore the Scottish Government acknowledges that refugees are particularly vulnerable, hard to reach and face additional barriers to employment. We are therefore committed to enhancing the employability and skills of refugees and migrants through various measures such us our New Scots integration strategy, of which a refreshed second version was launched on 10 January 2018; the Welcoming Our Learners, Scotland's ESOL Strategy; and funding for recognition of overseas qualifications, and a skills and learning pilot project being led by a key stakeholder group and carried out over two phases.

Ethnic Minority Women's Network

An ethnic minority women's network has been established, with support from the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations (CEMVO) with events being held in 2017 to link into the Race Equality Framework ( REF) actions. The first event was held on 22 February 2017 with over 90 women attending. As well as looking at the vision, purpose and structure of the network, employability issues were discussed which will feed into the on-going implementation of the Framework. Further events were held on 22 May 2017 and 20 September 2017, with the latter of these focusing on violence against women.

Feedback from this event was used to inform development of employment actions in the Race Equality Action Plan, which was published in December 2017.

11.8 Family Friendly Working

The Scottish Government awarded £169,000 funding to the Family Friendly Working Scotland Partnership for 2017-18, working in partnership with Working Families (a leading UK work-life balance organisation), Parenting Across Scotland and Fathers Network Scotland to support and promote the development of family-friendly workplaces across Scotland.

On 7 September 2017, the Scottish Government delivered a key commitment of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and launched the Flexible Jobs Index Scotland. Timewise were commissioned to produce the Index, which analysed the flexible jobs market in Scotland for the first time. The index showed that demand for flexible working outstrips supply, meaning that there is a significant opportunity to grow the flexible jobs market - with benefits for employers, workers and families. The Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities and the Minister for Childcare and Early Years launched the Index with a visit to Lloyds Banking Group.

11.9 Combatting pregnancy discrimination at work

The Scottish Government is working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination. A working group has been created, chaired by the Minister of Employability and Training. It has a remit to create guidelines for employers to ensure best practice and improve access to guidance for pregnant women and new mothers.

To date the Working Group has membership from the public, private, union and third sectors and is gender balanced. The last meeting took place on 21 February 2018.

The group are tackling discrimination against new and expectant mothers by:

  • ensuring guidelines are readily available for employers to promote best practice in the recruitment, retention, training and development of pregnant workers;
  • including best practice information about managing pregnancy and maternity in the Scottish Business Pledge; and
  • strengthening employer advice (including information on employment rights) to ensure that work environments are safe and healthy for pregnant women and new mothers.

11.10 Returners Programmes

The Scottish Government has made good on its commitment to deliver a Returner's Programme to assist experienced women to return to the workplace after a break. Many women struggle to return to work after a career break due to factors such as a lack of access to flexible working to support care commitments but they can also feel a lack of confidence and lack relevant skills, especially in sectors where technology has moved on at a rapid pace. Programmes will help women to update their skills and knowledge while enabling employers to gain from retaining skilled, experienced staff.

Seven projects have been approve to date with a total value above £235,000. These projects will address the underrepresentation of women in the STEM, finance, security and manufacturing sectors; increase business start-up rates for women and the number of women in senior positions and also encourage men into childcare which will help to change the perception of caring as a 'women's role'. One project specifically supports black and minority ethnic women back into the workplace.

11.11 Workplace Equality Fund

In early February 2018 the Scottish Government called for applications to the £500,000 Workplace Equality Fund. The aim of the fund is to deliver employer- led innovative solutions to reduce employment inequalities so that everyone – irrespective of gender, race, age or disability – has the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and improve Scotland's economic performance as a result. A second funding round will open on 2 July 2018.

A commitment to establish this Fund was made in the Labour Market Strategy published on 15 August 2016. The Programme for Government for 2016-17 recognised that the labour market did not provide good outcomes for many equality groups and that a Workplace Equalities Fund would draw on the recommendations made in the Race Equality Framework and the findings of the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee inquiry into Removing Barriers: Race, Ethnicity and Employment, published in January 2016.


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