Fair Pay Practices (Promotion)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 24th February 2021.

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Photo of James Kelly James Kelly Labour

1. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to promote fair pay practices. (S5O-05041)

Photo of Jamie Hepburn Jamie Hepburn Scottish National Party

Workers must be paid—and paid fairly—for the work that they do. Fair pay is fundamental to fair work and we are committed to promoting payment of the real living wage and to employer accreditation for that.

We have included payment of the real living wage in the criteria for our flagship fair work first policy, which is a key mechanism for driving fair pay in Scottish workplaces. There are now more than 1,900 living-wage accredited employers in Scotland. At 84.8 per cent of employees, Scotland remains the best performing of all four United Kingdom countries in relation to the proportion of employees who are paid the living wage or more.

Photo of James Kelly James Kelly Labour

Fair pay practices are the mark of a dignified society, so it is regrettable that some care workers have been left behind. They have worked in really difficult circumstances during the pandemic to support the people whom they look after. What action is the Scottish Government taking to support the objectives of the GMB trade union campaign to secure care workers pay of £15 an hour for the work that they carry out?

Photo of Jamie Hepburn Jamie Hepburn Scottish National Party

Of course, the first thing that I observe is that I absolutely share—[

Inaudible

.]—that we owe our care workers a great deal of thanks at all times, but particularly in the current context.

I recognise that proper remuneration for our social care workforce is important. In that regard, we have worked closely with the sector and with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, and local government more widely, to ensure that all those who work in the commissioned care services sector are paid the real living wage. That includes the resource allocated over the past two years to cover extension of the real living wage to sleep-over hours during 2018-19, which will continue through this year.

We need to recognise that we must play a role in ensuring that social care workers are properly paid; we will continue to play that role.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

I do not know whether anyone managed to hear that—I certainly could not determine all of what was being said. I am not sure whether it is the minister’s connection or whether it is something to do with the systems here. We will check it out. I suggest that you check the

Official Report,

Mr Kelly

, because I do not think that that was clear at all. We will see how we get on.

Gillian Martin has a brief supplementary.

Photo of Gillian Martin Gillian Martin Scottish National Party

Will the minister provide more detail on how the Scottish Government will apply its fair work guidance for public sector economic development, particularly in green ports?

Photo of Jamie Hepburn Jamie Hepburn Scottish National Party

Having heard you, Presiding Officer, I will shout at the computer screen in the hope that you will be able to hear me better.

As early adopters of fair work first, our enterprise and skills agencies started implementing the policy last year. Last December, Fiona Hyslop and Kate Forbes jointly wrote to all public sector bodies setting out the expectation that all public bodies will adopt fair work first criteria, in their capacity as employers, from March, and that they will from April apply the criteria to grants, funding or contracts that they award.

We are serious about the fair work agenda. As we progress our green ports plans, we are making sure that fair work first is a central part of them, too.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

I am afraid that the problem seems to be with your connection, minister. I ask Ms Martin to check the written answer. Fortunately, that is the only question that you are answering in this portfolio, minister. That is helpful, because otherwise we would all be on a bit of a mystery tour.