This blog series by Lizzy and Frankie introduces Fair Work. This refers to all aspects of working for your organisation, from creating a job spec and developing a positive organisational culture to the day-to-day experience of working and progressing in your organisation. In this blog we explain ‘security’.
What is Security?
Security of employment, work, and income are important foundations of a successful life. Predictability of working time is often a component of secure working arrangements. While no one has complete security and stability of employment, income, and work, security is an important aspect of fair work. Context and competitive conditions impact significantly on prospects for security, but fair work is not work where the burden of insecurity and risk rests primarily on employees and workers.
Why is it important?
Stability of employment allows individuals to better plan their day to day lives and their future. Security of income can contribute to greater individual and family stability and can promote more effective financial planning, including investment in pension provision. Stability and sufficiency of earned income for individuals reduces reliance on the welfare system while in work and in retirement. Predictability of work commitments – in particular, working hours – and good work-life balance are also important elements of fair work.
Security plays an important role in behaviours and attitudes within workplaces and therefore can generate important benefits for employers. Where people feel secure, this can increase; their willingness to adapt, their levels of commitment, and employer-employee trust. Stability of work can create the basis for greater learning and more effective skills development and can increase fulfilment in work. Security and stability in work can reduce turnover and minimise recruitment and selection costs, as well as lost training costs.
How can I implement Security within my organisation?
Security as a dimension of fair work can be supported in a variety of ways:
- By building stability into contractual arrangements
- All workers should be paid at least the Living Wage as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation
- Giving opportunities for hours of work that can align with family life and caring commitments
- Employment security agreements
- Fair opportunities for pay progressing
- Sick pay and pension arrangements
In the context of increasing global competition, pursuing higher value business models instead of competing solely on cost can help employers to provide security in work and employment. Contractual stability should be a core employer objective as forms of flexible working where the burden of risk falls disproportionately on workers (including most zero hours contracts) are not fair work. Agreement making between employers and workers, including collective bargaining in unionised establishments and sectors, promotes stability and perceptions of security and should be supported.
What are MGS doing as employers to enable Security?
At MGS, all staff are issued with a contract of employment from the beginning of their employment which clearly sets out their weekly hours and annual salary. This way, staff know exactly how much they will earn from month to month. MGS also clearly specifies whether this is a fixed term contract with a clearly given termination date, or whether employment is being offered on a permanent, open ended basis. Employees also have the benefit of a sick pay scheme which provides pay in excess of the statutory minimum should time off for ill health be necessary.
MGS pays at least the Real Living Wage to all employees and has clear salary scales which are published to all staff. All staff have access to a generous pension scheme with employer contributions of 22.8% in 2022/23, which helps employees with financial planning for retirement.
Our Reward and Recognition framework gives clear guidance on how MGS will approach a wide range of things, from financial benefits, career-building opportunities and learning and development, to leave, flexibility, “perks” and informal everyday acknowledgement and appreciation.
MGS is willing to talk Flexible Working when recruiting employees which gives everyone the opportunity to request hours that will fit in with family and other commitments from the beginning of employment. We also operate a Hybrid Working policy which gives employees the opportunity to combine office and home working to suit their needs and requirements. This is currently in a pilot phase, but the overwhelming feedback is that our employees really value the flexibility that this way of working affords them.
We also encourage everyone to complete a timesheet to record hours worked per day. This is designed to be a helpful tool so that staff can see when they are working in excess of their contracted hours and allows them to take time back if necessary by way of our flexi time arrangements.
What we would like to do
At MGS, whilst we strive to provide security of employment, we are reliant on funding from external sources for a number of roles within our organisation and do employ people to carry out a lot of project related work. This necessitates a number of fixed term contract opportunities which can be beneficial for both employer and employee for a number of reasons. However, we do recognise the challenges associated with this type of contract and are conscious of the need to manage them appropriately from their commencement to conclusion in a fair and reasonable manner.