What is Fair Work?

Fair Work aims to balance the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers and generates mutual benefits for individuals, organisations and society, such as increased participation in work; improved productivity in the workplace, and wider distribution of wealth within local communities.

Fair Work can be defined as work that offers effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect. Fair work can be a significant driver of productivity for Scotland, and contributing to growth that is inclusive.

Set up in 2016, the Fair Work Convention in Scotland set out a helpful Framework explaining the dimensions of fair work and how they can be achieved. 

  • Effective voice: effective channels of communication in workplaces along with a safe environment
    that enable workers to contribute to discussions, be listened to and make a difference, promoting
    an environment of employee engagement.
  • Opportunity: ensuring that everyone who wants to can access work and, in work, can develop
    and progress.
  • Security: including stability and predictability of employment, working time and
  • Fulfilment: developing and utilising skills, career advancement and employee engagement.
  • Respect: ensuring workers are respected in terms of, for example, health, wellbeing and safety regardless of their role or status. 



Fair Work support programme

We’re offering specialist support to organisations based in the Highlands and Islands to become Fair Work employers.

Fair work support programme


Any organisation applying for grant funding from HIE must comply with our fair work conditions for financial support. This includes: 

  • Paying all employees, aged 16 years and above (including apprentices), the Real Living Wage (currently £12.00* per hour) as a minimum.
    If you cannot meet this criterion, please contact us before you apply for funding, email enquiries@hient.co.uk
  • Having a flexible working policy
  • Be able to demonstrate how you support workforce development and foster employee engagement.

* The Real Living Wage increased from £10.90 per hour to £12.00 per hour on 24 October 2023. Employers have 6 months, until 01 May 2024, to implement the increase.

If you would like to speak to someone about the fair work requirement, or need more information, please email enquiries@hient.co.uk.

Fair Work

What are the business benefits of Fair Work?

The adoption of Fair Work practices doesn't have to be costly to employers - in fact, there may be financial benefits to them, such as:

  • Employee engagement
  • Opportunity – development, progression, diversity
  • Security – pay and contracts
  • Fulfilment – job satisfaction
  • Respect – personal worth 

Fair Work employer support tool

This tool will help you to progress fair work within your organisation.

Access the Fair Work tool

Benefits of Fair Work

Find out about the wider benefits to you and your employees of Fair Work practices.

Fair employment and treatment can boost your brand image

Customers, clients, investors, workers and potential business partners usually want to make socially-conscious decisions about the businesses they work with and support. If your business has a reputation for failing to pay staff a real living wage, to implement fair employment practices or treat workers equally, your brand image will take a hit. As a result, you may not be able to make the sales or land the contracts you need, you may struggle to find willing investors and business partners and recruitment can become more difficult and costly. However, when you ensure the fair employment and treatment of workers, you can boost your brand image and position your business as one that people want to support.

Find out more here

Improve employee satisfaction and retention

If employees feel your recruitment processes are unfair or the way your business treats workers is unequal, you could have a problem with employee satisfaction and morale. This can hinder productivity, leading to reduced profitability, and employee-retention rates are likely to drop too. 

By investing in staff training and development, making sure you treat workers equally and consider job candidates based solely on their personal skills, qualifications and abilities, you can improve employee satisfaction and retention. You’ll benefit from a happy, productive workforce that wants to stick around long-term, reducing your recruitment and training costs. 

Demonstrate zero tolerance for corruption and bribery

When you act with integrity and ensure fair employment and treatment in your workplace, you demonstrate zero tolerance for corruption and bribery. People should be hired and given opportunities because they’re right for the job, not because of bribes or personal relationships. They certainly shouldn’t be hired for immoral reasons such as the opportunity to exploit someone with low wages or unfavourable working conditions. Having fair and consistent recruitment policies and procedures and making sure workers are treated equally can deter people from entering into corrupt practices or bribery. 

Find out more here

Comply with important legislation on the fair employment and treatment of employees

The fair employment and treatment of employees is required by certain laws and regulations. As well as benefiting your business, fair practices are also a case of compliance. For example, there are employment and labour laws that detail employees’ rights to fair treatment and equal opportunities.

Find out more here

The vision of the Fair Work Convention

By 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where fair work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and for society.

Employer support tool

The enterprise and skills agencies, in conjunction with the Scottish Government and the Fair Work Convention, have developed a tool to help employers understand and fully embed the dimensions of Fair Work. It will support you to take the next step on your Fair Work journey.

Access the Fair Work tool



Fair Work in Tourism

Fair work is an investment in everyone in your business. It's about making sure you recruit, nurture and retain the right people to help your business thrive. For tourism businesses in the Highlands and Islands, implementing fair work practices may seem like a big ask right now but can you afford not to? 

Download our Fair Work Guide for Tourism Employers. It'll help you identify the areas of fair work practices you're already doing, and what more you could do.

See the guide  

Find out more 

See our other hints and tips about Fair Work in tourism here

Earthtime Waddle Toddle Lossie

Time for staff at Earthtime

“The programme helped us explore the core elements of fair work - respect, opportunities, effective voice, security, fulfilment. The follow-up report we got provides practical advice on how to build on what we do well and how to explore changes together that could benefit us as individuals, as an organisation and for our community.
“Our team works every day to improve the lives and well-being of young people. That same ethos is important for us too as staff.”

Deborah Hockney, Project Manager, Earthtime

Earthtime For All Ltd is an award-winning charity, accredited by the Forest School Association, connecting children and young people with the outdoor environment. Their mission is to improve lives and outcomes for families and young children in Moray by spending time in nature.

The organisation has two outdoor nurseries that are their focal point, based in the Duffus Estate woodland and Cooper Park, Elgin, alongside offering training courses, public activities, and school visits. Earthtime currently employs 24 members of staff.

Aly Lochaber Hope

Fair work and Lochaber Hope

“It was fantastic to get expert reassurance that many of our practices were fair work friendly. Our discussions also helped us to spot new opportunities, and to consider how practical steps like improved digital processes could make life easier as individuals and as an organisation.
"It has encouraged us to work together on organisational values that reflect our mission and embed a culture that we can all get behind.”

Alyson Smith, Executive Manager, Lochaber Hope, Fort William

Lochaber Hope is an award winning non-for-profit organisation which provides counselling, mentoring, employability support, and training services.


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