'Living Hours' campaign launched to tackle work insecurity

SSE has today committed to support a brand-new campaign aimed at tackling insecurity over working hours.

The business is one of four backing the Living Wage Foundation’s “Living Hours” initiative.

It is being launched with the objective of holding employers to a series of commitments which include providing workers with at least:

  • Four weeks’ notice of shifts
  • A contract that accurately reflects hours worked
  • A contract with a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week

Organisations that agree to these measures will be accredited as Living Hours employers alongside their Living Wage accreditation.

The announcement comes as new research commissioned by the Living Wage Foundation has revealed that one in six, or around 5 million workers, are trapped in insecure forms of work, including short-term contracts, low wage contracts with varying pay and hours, and underemployment.

As a major Living Wage employer SSE has committed to sign-up to the scheme alongside other businesses including Aviva and Standard Life Aberdeen.

SSE was the biggest FTSE 100 company to back the Living Wage when it was accredited in 2013. Now there’s recognition the Living Wage is the flagship standard for employers and it is hoped Living Hours will enhance workers’ security even further.

John Stewart, Director of HR at SSE, said: “The Living Wage campaign has made huge strides in ending in-work poverty. But there is another side of the coin: the number of hours worked and the security of those hours.

“This brand-new campaign to create an employer culture of Living Hours has the potential to do so much more and as a business we are very proud to be a part of it.”

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “The Living Wage has put almost £1bn extra into the pockets of more than 200,000 workers, but it’s increasingly clear that pay is not the only driver of in-work poverty. A lack of secure,

stable hours is leaving millions of families struggling to keep their heads above water. This isn’t good for workers or businesses.

“Constant uncertainty over the number of hours and the amount of pay you’ll get each week places people under enormous pressure. A shift cancelled at the last minute might sound trivial, but it can be the difference between being able to pay for your family’s dinner that night or going hungry.

“We’ve consulted with hundreds of workers, employers and trade unions in drawing up these measures to ensure they are ambitious but achievable. We believe Living Hours will provide an important new measure to fight in-work poverty and to provide workers and their families with stability and security.”