Fair Work Practices

"Fair Work is work that offers all individuals an effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect."

Fair work for employees:

  • increases financial security
  • increases physical and mental wellbeing
  • provides access to learning and development and work progression, and
  • creates a culture and environment free of bullying and discrimination, helping people to live more fulfilling lives

Fair work for organisations:

  • attracts more engaged, committed and adaptable employees
  • leads to improved productivity, innovation, organisational reputation and recruitment
  • leads to diverse workplaces with a richness of talent and a diversity of ideas

What is Fair Work First?

Fair Work First is the Scottish Government's policy for driving high quality and fair work across Scotland, having a positive impact on worker’s lives. 

The Fair Work First criteria are:

  • payment of at least the real Living Wage
  • provide appropriate channels for effective workers’ voice, such as trade union recognition
  • investment in workforce development
  • no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts
  • action to tackle the gender pay gap and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace
  • offer flexible and family friendly working practices for all, and
  • oppose the use of fire and rehire practices

The criteria complement each other and seek to address challenges in the labour market. They aim to make a real difference to people and their communities, business, other organisations and the economy.

See the Fair Work First in Procurement guidance for more detail on each of these criteria and how to determine whether they are relevant to your procurement.

Further information can be found at SPPN 1/2024 - Public procurement - Updated guidance on Fair Work First

Fair Work First criteria is likely to be relevant where:

  • workers are likely to impact the quality of the contract or
  • where workers will be required to interact directly with your organisation’s employees and/or members of the public and
  • whether they will spend time on the buying organisation's premises

See the Scottish Government's Statutory Guidance for more information on Fair Work in procurement and the Scottish Government’s position on the real Living Wage.

The Living Wage Foundation defines the real Living Wage as:

  • the only wage rate based on what people need to live
  • it is voluntary
  • applies to those aged 18 and older
  • a calculation made according to the cost of living, based on a basket of household goods and services

Any questions can be emailed to: scottishprocurement@gov.scot


Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014: Statutory Guidance

This guidance applies to regulated procurements. It reflects the development of the Scottish Government’s policy on Fair Work First, including payment of the real Living Wage, and its application within Scottish public procurement.

 Fair Work First in Procurement Guidance 

This guidance provides more practical advice on addressing Fair Work in procurement.