Head of Policy & Public Affairs
Public Sector Employers
and the Living Wage
Public Sector Leadership:
Anchoring Ontario’s Living Wage Movement – Feb 2018
Since financial crash real wages fallen
Profits and dividends gone up
Impact on local economy
Impact on social security costs
More than half in work
Scottish Govt – Fair Work Convention
UK National Minimum Wage and
‘Social Wage’ concept
What is the Scottish Living Wage?
Minimum income that households need in order to afford an
acceptable standard of living.
• Calculated by Living Wage Foundation.
• Voluntary – although public procurement
• Scottish Living Wage campaign.
•Harder edge campaigning
• Scottish Living Wage accreditation
•Promotion and accreditation.
•1100+ employers signed up
•Almost all public sector employers
Canadian Dollars $12.41 $13.20 $15.40
Pubic policy case for the SLW
• Workers get higher wages, improves health and job
• Employers. reduces turnover, improves productivity and
attracts better staff through reputational gain
• Community benefits through lower benefit cost, less
stress on the NHS and cash into the local economy.
• Sub-living wage employers cost taxpayer £6bn a year in
in-work benefits alone (IFS) – 500k workers below
• Indirect cost on poverty is around £25bn a year.
“I believe that paying decent wages reduces staff turnover
and produces a more motivated and productive workforce”.
Strategy to promote SLW
• All the public sector
• Scottish Government Pay Policy
• Councils and NHS Scotland
• Higher and Further Education
• Private sector base
• Name and shame
• Formal accreditation. Living wage employer
• Scottish Government funding
• 11bn public spending to leverage SLW
• Procurement Reform Act 2014
• EU procurement rules – limit direct compliance
• Work around:
o Procurement strategy – evaluation – contract
• Statutory procurement guidance
o Fair work – not just Scottish Living Wage
• S52 guidance – ends two-tier workforce
•Wages and growth context
•Good for workers
•Good for employers
•Good for taxpayer
•Good for local economy
•Made good progress in Scotland
• Government policy framework
• Procurement and accreditation
•Scottish Government – statutory guidance on Fair Work
Scottish Living Wage Campaign
•UNISON briefings http://www.unison.org.uk/our-
•Procurement Guidance http://www.unison-
The idea behind a living wage is very simple: that a person should be
paid enough to live decently and to adequately provide for their
family. At its heart is an ethical argument for preventing in-work
poverty and ensuring workers are not exploited through low wages.