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Spotlight on: Employment
Citizens advice bureaux help thousands of clients each year with employment problems. These clients are often low paid, relatively low skilled, are often unaware of their employment rights, and are vulnerable to poor and illegal employment practices.
The recession has created a situation in which these poor practices are more common: employees will put up with poor employers for fear of losing their job; workers will accept radical changes to their pay and hours rather than face a tough labour market; and employers will try to cut corners and slash costs in order to stay afloat.
28 Apr 2021
by Gillian Fyfe, Strategic Lead (Strong Communities).
This article was first published in the Herald on 28 April 2021.
4 Jan 2021
Working people in Scotland will face an income shock if the £20 increase to Universal Credit is not made permanent, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) warned today.
27 Oct 2020
by Mhoraig Green, CAS Strategic Lead on social policy
This article was first published in the Herald on 27 October 2020.
Publication date: September 2021
Following CAS’ initial 2021 submission to the Low Pay Commission, we had further engagement from advisers in the Citizens Advice Bureau Network’s Employment Specialist Forum. Advisers shared additional insight and evidence from their frontline experience on issues for low paid workers, including:
- Low pay and non-payment of statutory minimum wage rates
- Furlough and Covid-19 changes
- Social security
- Enforcement of employment rights
Publication date: June 2021
This consultation response surveys the employment issues CAB clients have faced during the pandemic.
- During COVID-19, employment rose to the third most common advice need across the Citizens Advice Scotland network, with spikes in advice on redundancy and dismissal.
- Many frontline low paid workers have seen their working conditions worsen as a result of insecure contracts and fire and hire tactics during the pandemic. Better pay and conditions for these essential roles must be a cornerstone of the recovery, valuing their contribution by allowing workers a decent standard of living, financial resilience, and job security. Moreover, higher wages offer more disposable income to be spent in local communities, supporting demand.
- The pandemic has raised the cost of living for those on low-pay, with the extra time spent at home leading to increased food and utilities bills. Workers receiving the National Living Wage (NLW) still face budgeting struggles, through a combination of high costs, low wages, and limited and unpredictable social security support.
- CAB cases show evidence of employers in low-paid sectors being non-compliant in other areas, even if they are paid NLW or higher, including unpaid holiday and sick pay. Much of this non-compliance has taken place within the furlough scheme, making it harder for workers to determine how their employment rights are being breached.
- The pandemic and Brexit have hit tourism and hospitality particularly hard, where many roles will be low-paid. Brexit is also having an additional impact on EU nationals who advisers tell us may now face difficulties accessing social security they are entitled to.
- We warmly welcome the decision to lower the age threshold of the NLW and would recommend that in future different rates for different ages are abolished altogether.
- We also welcome the increase to NLW and other minimum rates but hope they can be raised further to at least meet the level of the independently-calculated voluntary Living Wage.
- The Government’s recommitment to a single enforcement body is to be welcomed, but this work must be prioritised and well-funded in order to achieve its aims.
Treasury Select Committee inquiry
Publication date: June 2020
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomed the creation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS): timely responses which protected incomes and prevented many jobs being lost. There are some gaps in the schemes, together with some misuse or non-use of the CJRS by employers, which have caused detriment to workers.
Publication date: June 2020
This submission addresses issues of low pay and employment practices.