Under recent rules coming into force in Scotland, firms bidding for public sector contracts will be expected to pay employees the Living Wage.
The rules will also ban the exploitative use of zero hours contracts for those firms looking to win work with the Scottish Government.
Responsible employment in procurement
The recent rules form part of a statutory guidance for the public sector and are a key fixture of the Scottish Government’s commitment to fair work procurement practices, including fair wages, non-discrimination and transparent employment contracts.
Scottish Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown said: “Our model of procurement, putting the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability at the heart of all we do, remains the foundation of our approach.
“Employers must now recognise – as many already do – that if you want to do business with the public sector in Scotland, you have to be a responsible employer and value your workers. You have to do your bit to make Scotland a fairer and more equal society.”
Winning with the Living Wage
While paying the UK minimum wage is a legal requirement, the Living Wage is designed to reflect the actual cost of living and is paid voluntarily by some employers.
The Living Wage, set by an independent foundation and adopted by 380 Scottish firms, has recently risen from £7.85 an hour to £8.25. In London, that figure rises to £9.15 an hour.
As the payment of the Living Wage becomes mandatory for firms before they will be awarded a public contract in Scotland, taking on this responsibility should become part of your firm’s business strategy.
If your firm can display a commitment to the Living Wage in your tender responses, you will be looked upon favourably by buyers not only in Scotland, but across the UK.
With the Scottish model of procurement being described as the ‘gold standard’, the adoption of this Living Wage requirement in other parts of UK public procurement could be forthcoming, so making it part of your procurement strategy could put you ahead of your competitors.
Other ways to boost your bids
In addition, enforcing fair work practices as the standard in your business will also be looked upon favourably by buyers when scoring bids.
Ensuring that all staff are paid fairly is just the start.
A commitment to non-discriminatory hiring and rejecting the use of zero hours contracts will also help show buyers that your firm is ethical and trustworthy, which will boost your overall scores.
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