3. Make workplaces fairer
(also known as ‘Fair employment and just labour markets’)
Employment practices that result in people working split shifts, or operating on zero hours contracts work for some people but can also have destabilising effects on others, including families. Caring for children or disabled relatives becomes problematic and the flexibility such jobs can bring can just as easily eat into people’s family time. The additional travel costs mount up. Life can become more centred on work than home.
Local companies, and particularly social enterprises or community led businesses, often have different priorities, which are not solely driven by financial gain, ones that value community gains. They have an interest in recruiting locally, drawing from a wide pool of labour.
In the long run, helping local companies to employ people who might otherwise struggle to secure work can reduce your costs in other areas over time – particularly on social work, health, or mental health budgets. Giving younger people meaningful work can offer them an opportunity to make a positive contribution and keep them in the area.
When you are buying services or goods you can use your powers to ask about suppliers’ relevant employment practices, require contractors to sub-contract to local firms, and encourage recruitment for specific groups such as disabled people or lone parents. You can also ask them if they use Fair Work First principles – are they reducing their gender pay gap, or their use of zero hours’ contracts. Do they pay the living wage and consider how they will invest in the ongoing development of their staff?
Questions to ask yourself
What, beyond minimum standards, can I ask for in our contract with contractors?
How can I use community benefits clauses to increase the skills and employability of local people?
Can we target advertising for jobs into our more deprived areas to help improve local citizens’ income?
Can we connect with local schools or colleges to promote the opportunities available?
Who is doing this?