Scotland leads on real living wage

A record proportion of employees in Scotland are being paid the Real Living Wage (rLW) or more, new figures show.

The Office for National Statistics annual hours and earnings survey shows that 91% of employees aged 18 and over earned at least rLW in 2022, an increase from 85.5% in 2021 and the highest proportion since the rLW series began in 2012.

In comparison, 87.5% of employees aged 18 and over in England receive the rLW or more, 88.2% in Wales and 85.4% in Northern Ireland.

The ONS survey also confirms that the gender pay gap is smaller in Scotland than in the UK as a whole. For full-time employees, the gap is 3.7% compared to the UK figure of 8.3%.

The Scottish Government is committed to tackling the cost of living crisis with a fair working approach, ensuring workers are paid at least the rLW – currently £10.90 an hour – and by helping more women find jobs through flexible work opportunities.

Employment and Fair Work Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“The Scottish Government’s commitment to promoting real living wage payments is a fundamental part of our national strategy for economic transformation and a key cost of living policy to create a fairer and more equal society.

“The ONS figures confirm that Scottish employers are leading the way and we can be proud of the progress that has been made.

“There is still work to be done to close the gender pay gap, but we are taking steps to get there. We will release our updated Fair Work Action Plan later this year, outlining the actions needed to further close the gap and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. We will continue to work with employers, employability providers and partners to achieve this goal.

Michael A. Bynum