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Fair Pay, Fair Work and a Fresh Approach to Doing Business

Posted: 2018-01-29 14:56:17

Newly accredited organization, Gracefruit Ltd had a visit from Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn last week who congratulated them on their accreditation. Based in central Scotland, Gracefruit Ltd’s accreditation strengthens their already impressive commitment to fairness and equality for its staff. The firm, which supplies soap-making and cosmetic ingredients to customers across Europe, is reducing its 10-strong team's working week to just 23 hours – while maintaining wage levels for salaried staff and introducing the real Living Wage for its hourly workers.

Gracefruit founder and director Elizabeth Carnahan said: “We've always paid staff above minimum wage, but now we're going further than ever before and paying staff the real Living Wage. There's more to business than just higher profits – there's the challenge of adapting to change, along with the teamwork and the potential to make a change in people's lives.”

The family firm, founded in 2005, is determined to put as much emphasis on 'family' as on 'business'.

Elizabeth added: “You don't have to work 35-40 hours a week to maintain productivity. We want to prove it's possible for businesses to thrive while helping staff maintain the right balance between work and life. We believe the best way for a business to thrive is to treat its workers fairly.”

Where staff once worked until 4pm most days, revised schedules and streamlined working procedures mean they will now finish no later than 2pm every day.

“It's just a matter of organising ourselves properly, and making sure the businesses we work with know our schedule,” said Elizabeth's husband and co-director, Paul Carnahan.

All of Gracefruit's salaried staff will benefit from private health insurance, and part-time workers could soon be offered a similar scheme. Fresh fruit and healthy snacks are free and available to staff, and they are also providing free sanitary products for their female employees.

Elizabeth states “It's all about creating an environment in which everyone is valued, and everyone is a contributor to our ongoing success. Inequality is at the root of many of the problems our country and our society faces right now. The gap between the well-off and the poor is widening constantly. If every business in the UK paid its workers enough to have a comfortable life, we'd be in much better shape.”

Mr Hepburn welcomed both the firm’s Living Wage accreditation and the approach it was taking with its workforce’s working hours, saying “The approach taken here, with Elizabeth being flexible and catering to the circumstances of her employees, is an approach the Scottish Government welcomes – flexible working is very important to business becoming productive.”

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