Two Living Wage accredited employers from Ayrshire were among the guest speakers at a special business event promoting the benefits of flexible, innovative and family-friendly working practices.
Jackie Hamilton (Senior Manager, Employment Services, North Ayrshire Council) and Victoria Edwards (CEO, VOCA) addressed business leaders, people managers and HR professionals at the Breakfast Briefing in the GSK Conference Centre in Irvine on Friday, September 8, from 9-11.30am.
Organised by Family Friendly Working Scotland, the event was held in partnership with Ruth Maguire MSP, who herself is a Recognised Living Wage MSP.
Ruth Maguire MSP, said: “This was a great opportunity to engage with experts and Ayrshire business leaders who have embedded a family-friendly approach in their organisation, and are reaping the rewards.
“I also used the event as a springboard to highlight the benefits of paying a Living Wage. I’m proud to be a Recognised Living Wage MSP and I’m happy to support the Poverty Alliance’s drive to encourage other businesses to help to make in-work poverty a thing of the past.”
Accredited as a Living Wage employer in 2016, Senior Manager Jackie Hamilton shared North Ayrshire Council’s experiences of being a family friendly employer, which has led to improved business efficiencies, enhanced services for the local community and improved work life balance of employees.
Speaking after Friday’s event, Fiona Walker, Head of Service for People and Transformation at North Ayrshire Council, said: “For the last two years we have been acknowledged as being one of the top Scottish employers for family friendly working, this in conjunction with our accreditation as a Living Wage employer are titles we wear with pride. Having family friendly policies and paying the Living Wage are an important indication of our commitment to fair work practices, and to a positive approach to our workforce. As part of our commitment to the Living Wage we also ask contractors who provide services for or on behalf of the Council to do so too. We are leading by example and that’s why we – as the largest single employer in North Ayrshire – are proud to show support for all employees. One of the most important reasons we think employers should embrace family friendly policies and strive for Living Wage accreditation is so they can become part of the Family Friendly and Living Wage community making these the norm rather than the exception.”
Telemarketing company VOCA became the first UK call centre to pay its staff a Living Wage when it gained accreditation in 2016.
CEO Victoria Edwards said: “VOCA is the first call centre in the UK to pay the Real Living Wage and we are passionately committed to our customers and have built an outstanding track record providing services to some of the UK’s best-known companies.
“Being a responsible business is about making a difference to both your customers and your employees, it’s not just about delivering profit to the bottom line in any given year. Employees are at the heart of any business and it’s important to have a team that are focused on delivering exceptional results. For an employee it is about more than the Real Living Wage. That was an easy decision for us to make – why would you not do it and our clients have been very supportive. But it is broader than just financial. Retaining and nurturing the best means a broader context within the working environment that fits for the needs of the staff. If I want full focus, I want to provide an environment where staff are not afraid to fail, they are proud to tell their family of the work that they do, that they know that there are services in the office to help with both their working and family life and that we provide stability, consistency and flexibility.”
For more information about Family Friendly Working Scotland visit www.familyfriendlyworkingscotland.org.uk
For more information about the Living Wage visit www.scottishlivingwage.org