Scottish Government becomes living wage employer

THE Scottish Government has become the latest Living Wage accredited employer.

The First Minister underlined the Government's commitment to helping people out of poverty. Picture: Jane Barlow

Around 200 groups and businesses in the country have already signed up to the scheme, which means all employees and subcontractors are paid at least the Living Wage of £7.85 an hour.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government has been paying staff above the level of the Living Wage “for some time” but has now completed the formal accreditation process.

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The Poverty Alliance, who operates the accreditation scheme, hopes it will encourage more organisations to sign up.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “The Poverty Alliance is pleased to see the Scottish Government join hundreds of other employers who have become accredited Living Wage employers.

“The Living Wage is an important tool in helping lift people out of poverty and we are celebrating that the Scottish Government has chosen to lead by example.

“With almost two-thirds of children in poverty in Scotland living in a household where someone works, it is now more important than ever that people are adequately remunerated for their labour.

“I hope that other organisations will follow in the Scottish Government’s footsteps and sign up to the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative.”

The Living Wage is a described as a “robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay”.

Supporters of the scheme say organisations can benefit from an enhanced reputation, the ability to recruit higher-calibre staff, a better working environment and greater staff engagement.

The First Minister said: “The Scottish Government is committed to fairness and supporting those on the lowest incomes, and we recognise the real difference the Living Wage can make to the people of Scotland. Research published just last week highlighted enhanced productivity, reduced absenteeism and better staff morale as just some of its potential benefits.

“We have been working closely with the Poverty Alliance to encourage employers across Scotland to pay the Living Wage and to seek formal accreditation for doing so. There are now over 200 Scots-based employers who proudly display the Living Wage Employer Mark.

“The Scottish Government has been paying all of its staff above the level of the Living Wage for some time but now we are happy to say that we are amongst the number of officially-accredited employers - a step which further demonstrates our commitment to payment of the Living Wage in Scotland.

“However, more needs to be done. We are committed to having 500 Scots-based Living Wage-accredited employers by March 2016, a decisive long-term commitment to those on the lowest pay.”