Scottish Veterans Residences (SVR) is a charitable Registered Social Landlord established in 1910 in response to the plight of Veterans sleeping on the streets of Edinburgh.  SVR operates three registered housing support services in Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow that support over 200 Veterans every year. Their services include accommodation, catering, housing support, therapeutic counselling and an activity programme to promote wellbeing.

SVR aim to be a great employer and to achieve this goal, they provide a range of employment benefits, including a Cycle to Work Scheme, insurance cover and generous leave entitlement. They also have a flexible working policy, which allows employees to better meet their obligations and responsibilities and allows them a better work-life balance.

The real Living Wage is consistent with SVR’s core values of dignity and respect and expert provision of service. They became an accredited employer in 2018 in order to publicly demonstrate their belief that paying a real Living Wage is good for both the organisation and their dedicated staff who provide vital services.

“Adopting the Living Wage is a no-brainer as it means our people are happier and can enjoy a better quality of life.” Martin Nadin, CEO

Since becoming accredited, SVR have been proud supporters of the real Living Wage. As well as hosting government ministers, they contributed to our Living Wage video in 2019 and were also named as finalists in the Living Wage Scotland Awards during Living Wage Week.

The Process

While SVR found the process of becoming accredited straightforward, there were some potential issues that were identified in the planning stages. A small number of staff required an uplift in pay but this did not prove to be a barrier and indeed, according to staff, it resulted in improved morale and motivation.

“I feel by being paid the Living Wage at the age of 18 that I am being treated fairly within my role and given the same equal opportunities as other staff members.” Staff Member, SVR

There was also some time spent checking agency pay rates, completing the accreditation license itself and details such as ensuring their logo was in the correct format. However, these were not significant challenges and overall SVR found the process to be relatively simple.

The Benefits

SVR believe that paying the real Living Wage is morally the right thing to do and that there are significant business benefits to be realised. The ability to attract the best staff to provide the best possible service to their beneficiaries has improved, as well as retention rates leading to a better return on training investment. They also feel that by demonstrating their commitment to staff, their reputation, both as a good employer and organisation has been enhanced.

“Staff who are paid the Living Wage are happier at work and we believe that happy staff will provide a better service for our beneficiaries.” Martin Nadin, CEO

By rewarding staff fairly for the valuable work they do, SVR have seen morale and motivation boosted. They do not differentiate when it comes to age and the real Living Wage, which contributes to everyone feeling valued and more committed to the organisation.

“The increase in pay made a big difference to me.  It really helps me and it feels good to be valued.” Sunday Agbo, Domestic Assistant

SVR believe that paying a fair wage is even more important now. Staff have been at work throughout the Covid crisis, providing vital services such as keeping the residences safe and clean and providing meals for the veterans and SVR are rightly proud of their resilience and dedication.

“We think paying a real Living Wage is a benchmark for any organisation that aspires to be a great employer.” Martin Nadin, CEO