5 reasons why Labour should back employment law devolution

There’s a lot we agree on with other parties when it comes to workers rights. But many of the powers we need to make a difference are reserved to the UK parliament.

Yet at Westminster, Labour has repeatedly blocked the devolution of employment laws. Rather than getting on with delivering a fairer Scotland now, Labour are promising changes on the never-never.

Here are five ways we could make Scotland fairer now with full employment law powers.

Raise the Minimum Wage to a Real Living Wage

We support increasing the Minimum Wage to a Real Living Wage for all workers aged over 18. That would mean a pay rise for around 460,000 workers in Scotland of almost £5,000 by 2022 compared to today.

Ban exploitative zero hours contracts

Far too often zero hours contracts are used to exploit workers. This can mean denying employees regular or sufficient working hours or penalising them for not being available to work. We believe the exploitative use of these contracts, where they are used just to avoid giving workers the protections they are due, should be banned.

Rights and protections for workers in the ‘gig economy’

Increasing numbers of people are working in the so-called ‘gig economy’, where they are paid based on the work they do rather than an hourly rate. This often means they don’t get the same workplace protections from their employer as permanent employees. We believe all workers should have appropriate rights and protections, including holiday and sick pay.

Ban unpaid trial shifts

Some employers require new recruits to work without pay for a ‘trial period’. This is often exploitative to young workers and migrants.

At Westminster, SNP MP Stewart McDonald lodged a Bill, backed by MPs from all parties, that would have required workers to be paid for these shifts. However, the Tories used archaic Westminster procedures to ensure Parliament never got a chance to vote on the Bill.

Tough new action on the gender pay gap

The extent to which women are still paid less than men is shocking. That’s why we support a change in the law to ensure all businesses with 150 employees or more publish their gender pay gap. And we also support the introduction of sanctions – including fines – for employers that fail to comply with the law.  Read more about our plan on the gender pay gap here.