Fair Work First means investment in skills and training, no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts, action on gender pay, genuine workforce engagement, including with trade unions, and payment of the real Living Wage. Through Fair Work First, the Scottish Government will use its financial power to make Fair Work the norm.

We are committed to working in partnership with employer organisations and employers representing a broad spectrum of sectors as we deliver Fair Work First. We are also committed to working with stakeholders as we develop Fair Work First and determine how it should apply to employers of different size and sector. We will develop a phased approach to implementation which will take account of the economic context, including the impact of EU exit.

Fair Work First will ask employers to commit to:

  • investment in skills and training
  • no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts (for example using zero hours contracts when people are working regular hours; exclusive contracts that stop flexible workers working for other people)
  • action to tackle the gender pay gap
  • genuine workforce engagement such as trade union recognition, and
  • payment of the real Living Wage

We believe that adopting such practices can make businesses more competitive by improving talent attraction, reducing staff turnover and absenteeism while improving motivation and workforce engagement.

By the end of this Parliament, wherever it is appropriate to do so, we will:

  • extend Fair Work criteria to every type of grant, funding stream, and business support budget open to us, and
  • extend the range of Scottish Government and public sector contracts that Fair Work criteria will apply to.

In 2019/20, we will test this new approach by attaching Fair Work criteria to Regional Selective Assistance (grants available for projects which will create or protect jobs in Scotland) and other large Scottish Enterprise job-related grants. This will focus on grant recipients paying the real Living Wage, no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts and meeting the legislative requirements to publish information on the gender pay gap. We will use the lessons learnt to inform our discussions with employer organisations and employers as we take forward Fair Work First.

We will also work with employers to develop tools to help reflect on their current practices and to consider how they could implement and evidence Fair Work First criteria. Additionally, support for Fair Work First will be part of the single portal for business currently being developed following a recommendation of the Enterprise and Skills Review.