First Living Wage hotel

The first Scottish hotel to pay its staff the living wage. Photo Anne Macdonald

STAFF at Shetland’s Scalloway Hotel are celebrating after the three star business became the first hotel in Scotland to become an accredited living wage employer.

The accreditation comes nine months after the hotel was judged to run the best restaurant in the Scottish islands in the Scottish Hotel Awards.

The current living wage is at least £8.25 per hour, significantly higher than the minimum wage, which is set at £6.70 for anyone aged 21 and over.

Owners Caroline and Peter Mackenzie said they have been supporters of the voluntary scheme for some time, so it seemed a logical step to become officially accredited.

“We are extremely proud to be the first hotel in Scotland to do so, and we hope others, including the big hotel groups, will follow suit,” she said.

“Our employees all work very hard, and we believe it’s important to reward them properly, and to demonstrate that we really do value them. We pay above the Living Wage rate to all staff, regardless of age.

“The hotel sector isn’t renowned for being a good payer, so anything which challenges that perception has to be a good thing.”

The family-run hotel benefited from low staff turnover and a highly motivated workforce, according to Mackenzie.

“We know that not all small businesses will want to, or indeed be able to, follow our example, but it makes us angry to hear so many large companies voicing their opposition.”

The Mackenzies were congratulated by Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, who said the couple were leading the way in the sector.

“There are now over 400 Living Wage employers in Scotland, all of whom have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring their staff get paid a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” he said.

“I hope that other hotels will follow in the Scalloway Hotel’s footsteps in the coming weeks and months”.