SSE and 1st Alliance Credit Union become Living Hours Accredited

Scottish Employers become Living Hours accredited, while Almost Two-Fifths of Working Adults Given Less Than a Week’s Notice of Working Hours

Scottish based energy firm SSE and 1st Alliance Credit Union have become the latest accredited Living Hours employers in the UK. Their accreditation means that, in addition to paying their staff the real Living Wage (£9.50 across Scotland), they will provide a guaranteed and stable minimum of working hours each week. Employers who accredit with the Living Hours programme commit to provide at least 4 weeks’ notice for every shift, with guaranteed payment if shifts are cancelled within this notice period.

New research by Living Wage Foundation finds that close to two-fifths (37%) of UK workers in full or part-time employment are given less than a week’s notice of their shifts or work patterns.

The research – based on two surveys, of over 2,000 UK adults in each case – addresses a gap in the UK’s labour market data and understanding of hours insecurity, being the first recent study to assess notice periods for work schedules across the workforce.

The study found that among the 59% of workers whose job involves variable hours or shift work, over three-fifths (62%) reported having less than a week’s notice of their work schedules. At the extreme, 12% of this group – amounting to 7% all working adults – had less than 24 hours’ notice.

While short notice periods affect workers throughout the UK, short notice periods were less common in Scotland (35%), and were found to be far more common in London, where  almost half (48%) of all workers received less than a week’s notice of work schedules.

A second survey conducted by the Living Wage Foundation homed in on the experience of full-time, low-paid workers, finding that they were particularly hard hit by short notice of working hours. Of those working full time and paid below the real Living Wage of (£9.50 in the Scotland), more than half (55%) had less than a week’s notice of work schedules, with 15% having less than 24 hours’ notice. Low-paid, full-time workers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (68% of whom had less than a week’s notice of work patterns) and those with children (64%) were also disproportionately affected.

Employers committing to stronger standards on shift patterns to better support workers and families includes Scottish energy provider SSE and 1st Alliance Credit Union: employers announced today as accredited Living Hours employers, joining, amongst others, Aviva and Standard Life Aberdeen as employers committing to provide workers with secure, guaranteed working hours alongside a real Living Wage.

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said:

“Congratulations to the employers confirmed today as Living Hours accredited, including SSE & 1st Alliance Credit union.”

 “Even before the pandemic, too many workers were locked in low paid and insecure jobs. Living Hours alongside a real Living Wage are practical ways in which businesses can take action to help ensure our recovery is based on principles of fair work; redesigning jobs to loosen the grip of poverty in Scotland.”

John Stewart, SSE HR Director, said:

“The real Living Wage movement has been an incredible phenomenon, championing the fundamental truth that people should be able earn enough to live a decent life.

“Living Hours is the other side of that coin. The amount of pay employees take home can be affected by irregular and unpredictable hours.

“The majority of our direct employees are already on contracts which meet the Living Hours requirements, but it is right that a company like SSE, headquartered in the UK and delivering some of the biggest projects in the fight against climate change, should guarantee higher standards for workers. This is fundamental to ensuring there is a fair and just transition to net zero. 

“Like with our Living Wage accreditation, the most important impact of Living Hours is that, in time, it will flow through our supply chain activities and benefit those working regularly on our behalf too. It is the right thing to do and we are very proud to have achieved this accreditation and hope it will help show others the way.”

Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Scotland said:

“There are over 1900 Scottish-based employers that are committed to paying at least the real Living Wage, and it’s fantastic to see SSE and 1st Alliance Credit union take additional steps to protect their workers from low pay and insecure work by becoming Living Hours accredited.

The values that led these employers to commit to the real Living Wage are the same values that have led to their expanded commitment to fair work at a time when workers need it most.”

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