Museums in Scotland required to pay Living Wage to apply for public funding - Museums Association

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Museums in Scotland required to pay Living Wage to apply for public funding

MGS introduces ‘fair work’ criteria for new grant offers
Funding Pay
The criteria change is part of Museums Galleries Scotland's new strategy, which launched in February
The criteria change is part of Museums Galleries Scotland's new strategy, which launched in February Image courtesy Museums Galleries Scotland. Photo by Julie Howden and Art Collection, University of Stirling

Museums and galleries in Scotland must pay all of their workers at least the real Living Wage to apply for grants, following changes to funding criteria introduced by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS).

The funding and development body is required to align its criteria to the Scottish Government’s Fair Work First policy, which applies to grants and public contracts being awarded by and across the public sector. Fair Work is also a priority area in MGS's recently launched strategy for 2023-30.

On 1 July, MGS introduced two elements of the government’s guidelines on fair working practices: that all workers within an organisation must receive at least real Living Wage, which is currently £10.90 per hour; and that all workers are to be provided with appropriate channels for effective voice.

Applicants will also need to demonstrate their awareness of, and commitment to, Fair Work principles by including a supporting statement on their website.

The government’s full list of Fair Work principles is:

  • payment of at least the real Living Wage;
  • providing 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;
  • offering flexible and family friendly working practices for all workers from day one of employment; and,
  • opposing the use of fire and rehire practice.
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MGS has produced a Fair Work Resources for Employers page to help museums find support and guidance towards becoming a Fair Work employer. It encourages museums to seek accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.

Museums Journal understands that there is concern about this blanket approach, with some organisations warning that the changes may prove unaffordable for them. There have been calls for the criteria to be broadened to recognise organisations that are working towards the Living Wage.

In an update to members, MGS grants manager Catherine Myles said: “We recognise that many museums have been on the Fair Work journey for several years now as we work towards the ambition of being a fair paid sector, however for others this may feel new and unfamiliar. If you are at all unsure about these requirements we encourage you to contact us to discuss your own situation and we will provide you with support and guidance to understand how these requirements may affect your organisation.”

The changes echo the Museums Association’s recent Salary Research and Recommendations, which stipulate that all employees and freelancers should be paid the Living Wage as a minimum.

Comments (1)

  1. Anthony Lane says:

    The so-called “Living Wage” is far below what is really needed for labour. Better to talk about a Universal Basic Income in that context and at that level. Then talk about a “living wage” above that. Don’t cowtow to these capitalist think tank bullshitters. Don’t excuse my language.

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