An employment “watchdog” would protect people in low-paid sectors being exploited by bosses who continue to violate even the most basic of workers’ rights, a charity has urged.
Citizens Advice Scotland says it saw some “staggering cases of workers being mistreated” during the pandemic, such as workers denied statutory sick pay, working hours withdrawn as a form of punishment, and the use of zero-hour contracts to side-step employee rights.
The UK government should bring forward “an employment rights watchdog with real teeth to tackle bad bosses,” said spokesman for the charity David Scott, as well as invest in “better promotion and awareness of rights at work.”
Demand for employment support for low-paid workers in insecure jobs boomed during the pandemic, with Citizens Advice Scotland saying it helped 40 per cent more people with employment issues than the previous period.
The Scottish government has recently announced its Fair Work plan to improve working conditions in Scotland by 2025, focusing on improving equal access to employment, more diversity in workplaces and reducing the gender pay gap.
These measures, while welcomed, are not the primary issue faced by the majority of people Citizens Advice Scotland supports, says the charity, which predominantly works with people in low-paid and insecure work.