Borders firms slow to take up living wage accreditation

editorial image

Only three Borders employers have so far signed up to a national scheme – launched in Scotland 18 months ago – acknowledging that employees are paid the living wage.

Organised by the Poverty Alliance, the accreditation initiative works in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation and is funded by the Scottish Government.

There are now 1,100 living wage employers in the UK, including 318 in Scotland.

At Holyrood last week, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, cabinet secretary for fair work, skills and training, gave a breakdown of accredited employers across Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

The Borders is not alone in having a single figure total with three council areas having zero returns.

Each accredited employer is identified on the Scottish Living Wage website and, once licensed, receives a wall plaque to display to visitors.

So far, the only plaques in this region have gone to TenTel, a broadband services provider based in Selkirk; Breadshare, a bakery producing organic bred in Peeblesshire; and South of Scotland SNP MSP Paul Wheelhouse who has an office in Hawick.

According to the Scottish Living Wage website, bosses who pay the £7.85 hourly rate have experienced a 25% fall in absenteeism with 80% of employers stating the living wage has enhanced the quality of work of their staff. Two thirds of the bosses reported a “significant impact” on recruitment and retention.