Scottish Living Wage- 2020-21 agreement  

This year a 3.3% uplift on the hourly rate was agreed in early April. In contrast to previous years (which required protracted local negotiations) this was an across the board uplift, in recognition of the COVID-19 crisis. Additional guidance was issued by COSLA and can be found in s.16 of the Latest COSLA Commissioning Guidance dated 17-04-2020 The key points are as follows:

  • The uplift is backdated to the 6th of April, 2020.
  • The 3.3% applies to the hourly rate and should be used for living wage uplift costs only.
  • Where a local authority has awarded a living wage uplift that is less than 3.3% the additional cost will be met by Scottish Government to bring the award up to 3.3%.
  • The hourly rate (and thus this uplift) covers normal sick pay. COVID-19 related sick pay is to be treated as follows:
    • Providers with less than 250 employees should first reclaim SSP from the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
    • The Scottish Government states in the guidance that ‘reasonable’ additional costs that cannot be claimed for under the scheme above for staff off sick or-self-isolating with COVID-19 symptoms will be recorded in H&SC local mobilisation plans for agreement with Scottish Government.

Please see our COVID-19 additional costs section for further info.


As part of the local government settlement for 2016-17 the Scottish Government included a requirement to ensure that ‘all social care workers, including in the independent and third sectors are paid £8.25 an hour’. This was the then Scottish Living Wage (SLW) In 16-17 a resource of £125M was provided to support ‘the living wage and other cost pressures’.In 17-18 a  further £107M was identified. In 18-19 a resource of £30M was identified within the Scottish budget for the SLW with a futher £10M identified for the sleepover hours uplift.

Good intentions, flawed implementation

Although CCPS wholeheartedly supports the payment of at least the Scottish Living Wage in social care this commitment has proven difficult to make a reality and has led to some unintended, and unwanted, consequences. Recent research by the University of Strathclyde sets  this out in more detail. Implementation is likely to be smoother in 20-21 with the early, across the board agreement of 3.3% and CCPS will continue to monitor and report on this.

We represent providers on the Scottish Goverment National Partners Group and gather and intelligence on how implementation is working on the ground.  We are involved in co-producing various iterations of the implementation guidance.

Living wage tools and resources

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