Fair Work

While employment law is set by the UK Government, the Scottish Government has been robustly working to promote fair working practices which form an important part for Scottish public sector organisations to meet the sustainable procurement duty. The Supplier Development Programme offers free training which explores resources on sustainability, such as fair work, environmental issues, and social issues such as equality and diversity, and fair and ethical trading.

What is Fair Work?

Fair Work is work that offers all individuals an effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect.

  • It balances the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers.
  • It generates benefits for individuals, organisations and society.

The Fair Work Convention’s vision, which the Scottish Government shares, is that by 2025 people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where fair work drives success, well-being and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and society. 

Fair Work Timeline

  • In January 2024, The Scottish Government updated its Fair Work Action Plan: Evidence Plan, which set out the approach to data and evidence which will support the Fair Work Action Plan to promote fair and inclusive workplaces across Scotland.
  • In March 2023 The Scottish Government updated its Fair Work First Guidance to reflect the strategic context set in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (1 March 2022) and the new requirement (announced 6 December 2022) for all grant recipients awarded a public sector grant on or after 1 July 2023 to pay at least the real Living Wage and provide appropriate channels for effective workers’ voice.
  • In spring 2021 the Convention released its Fair Work Manifesto for Scotland to aid it the goal for Scotland becoming a leading Fair Work Nation.
  • The Scottish Government also updated its policy on the conditionality of Fair Work in public sector contracts in 2021.
  • In the previous 2019/2020 Economic Action Plan, the Scottish Government attached fair work criteria to grants, other funding streams and public contracts to help ensure payment of the living wage, no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts, action to tackle the gender pay gap, investment in skills and training and genuine workforce engagement, such as trade union recognition. 

Suppliers can find out more from the Scottish Government's advice about how public bodies and suppliers on how to address Fair Work practices, including the real living wage through best practice in a public procurement process.

How can I include my business's Fair Work practices in my bid?

The Scottish Government has produced practical tools to use at key stages of the procurement process in a toolkit on Fair Work practices in procurement. The full toolkit includes information sheets, practical tools, and examples.

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