Fair Work Framework 2016
The Fair Work Dimensions - Security
Security of employment, work and income are important foundations of a successful life. Predictability of working time is often a component of secure working arrangements. While no one has complete security and stability of employment, income and work, security remains an important aspect of fair work. Context and competitive conditions impact significantly on prospects
for security, but fair work is not work where the burden of insecurity and risk rests primarily on workers.
Security as a dimension of fair work can be supported in a variety of ways: by building stability into contractual arrangements; by having collective arrangements for pay and conditions; paying at least the Living Wage (as established by the Living Wage Foundation); giving opportunities for hours of work that can align with family life and caring commitments; employment security agreements; fair opportunities for pay progression; sick pay and pension arrangements. In the context of increasing global competition, pursuing higher value business models instead of competing solely on cost can help employers to provide security in work and employment.
What people told us
Of all of the issues raised by individuals and organisations who communicated with the Fair Work Convention, decent pay and secure employment were considered the most important and were the most frequently cited. This mirrors recent research carried out by the Scottish Parliament6 and Oxfam7 among others. Certain groups in Scotland - women, young people, Black and Minority
Ethnic (BME) workers and disabled workers - are worse off than others when it comes to pay and employment security. Concerns were also raised about how insecure forms of employment interacted with the welfare system in undermining income security. Transparency in approaches to pay and in addressing pay disparities were also advocated. There was an appetite for the abolition
of recently introduced employment tribunal fees which disadvantage the low paid in particular in accessing justice and redress through this traditional route.
We were informed of the challenges facing employers in some sectors in addressing fair pay when resources are scarce and where markets or commissioning arrangements are beyond employer influence or control. Yet we also heard examples of the benefits for employers as well as workers of eliminating low pay.
How to improve security at work
- Ensure and support widespread awareness and understanding of employment rights.
- Contractual stability should be a core employer objective. Forms of flexible working where the burden of risk falls disproportionately on workers (including most zero hours contracts) are not fair work.
- All workers should be paid at least the Living Wage as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.
- Agreement making between employers and workers, including collective bargaining in unionised establishments and sectors, promotes stability and perceptions of security and should be supported.
- Pay transparency and defensibility should be a core organisational objective.
SECURITY OF EMPLOYMENT, WORK AND INCOME ARE IMPORTANT FOUNDATIONS OF A SUCCESSFUL LIFE.
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