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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Resources needed for the voluntary sector to action Scottish Government Fair Work plans

On Tuesday, the Employment and Fair Work Minister Richard Lochhead and Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater, announced that all organisations that receive grant funding from Scottish Government, enterprise agencies, and public bodies must pay the real Living Wage to all staff by July 2023. The announcement is part of the Scottish Government’s plans to become a Fair Work Nation by 2025. 

SCVO agree that Fair Work for Scotland’s voluntary sector workforce should be a priority.  

However, it is unclear how the sector will be supported to fund this change. Years of underfunding, followed by Covid 19, and the running costs crisis, mean that for many voluntary sector employers paying the Living Wage cannot be achieved without additional resources.  

A significant number of people employed in the sector are funded by public sector grants and contracts. SCVO have made clear that to support organisations to pay the Living Wage, public grant funding and procured contracts should build in a Living Wage uplift to ensure organisations delivering public services and other vital support are able to pay the Living Wage.  

We look forward to more details about how these plans will be funded in the upcoming Scottish Budget. SCVO encourage the Scottish Government to engage with voluntary sector funders and employers to ensure that all of the sectors 135,000 employees can be paid at least the real Living Wage. 

The voluntary sector workforce makes a huge contribution across Scotland, offering a lifeline to people, families, and communities as the cost-of-living crisis bites. This lifeline shouldn’t need to be extended to voluntary sector staff. 

Scottish Government need to work with local government, funders, and crucially, the sector, to ensure that voluntary sector organisations have the support they need to pay the real Living Wage. 

This blog was updated following the publication of the Fair Work First Guidance which states that the real Living Wage criteria will apply to all UK-based staff aged 16 and over, including apprentices, who are directly employed by the grant recipient. Any UK-based workers who are not directly employed but are directly engaged in delivering the grant-funded activity, whether they be sub-contractors or agency staff, must also be paid at least the real Living Wage.

Last modified on 25 May 2023