This week is Living Wage Week. From 14th to 20th November the Living Wage movement is being celebrated across the country. Why? Because at a time when the cost of living is becoming more and more expensive, the real Living Wage is more important than ever.

Loch Ness by Jacobite has been an accredited Living Wage employer since 2019. As a tourism business, the fantastic experience we offer to visitors from all over the world simply would not be possible without our dedicated team. We operate seven days a week for most of the year, sailing in all seasons and offering quality food, drink and retail at An Talla. Some of our staff have been with us for many years and we are extremely proud of that.

Freda Newton, Managing Director at Loch Ness by Jacobite, explains: “I am proud that Loch Ness by Jacobite is a Living Wage employer, but offering a fair wage is just the minimum really. As an employer, you have a duty of care to look after your staff and do all you can to ensure they enjoy their job. It’s about listening to staff and responding, where possible, to concerns or suggestions for improvements.

“We recently consulted staff on holidays. In the 20 years since I took over the helm, we have always remained open in January, closing only on Christmas Day itself. At a time when many hospitality and tourism businesses have taken the decision to close for one or even two midweek days, the majority view of our staff was that this was less preferable as they would still be working weekends and not able to spend quality time with their families. We have therefore taken the unprecedented decision to close for two weeks in January, giving all staff an extra week of holiday. This is a good example of listening to staff and being able to act upon their feedback.

“But often it’s the little things that make a big difference and over the years we have added to the benefits available to staff and increased our support for the local community. I see all of this as part of being a good and responsible employer and corporate citizen.”

Living Wage Week is highlighting the extra measures that employers across the hospitality and tourism sector put in place to benefit staff and the local community in its #TheGoodWeDo campaign. Following the extensive work undertaken to build our flagship shop and restaurant An Talla at Dochgarroch, we gifted a minibus to the local primary school and continue to support the school in any way we can. We also have a nominated charity every year and this year it is Befrienders Highland, an organisation that works across the Highlands providing a range of befriending services to tackle loneliness and isolation.

In addition to the extra week of holiday, our staff also benefit from a bus to take the boat crew to and from work each day; 20% discount in the restaurant and shop at An Talla; and uniform and lunch during shifts are also provided.

To find out more about the Living Wage movement visit https://scottishlivingwage.org/ and to join in the conversation around #TheGoodWeDo during Living Wage Week on Twitter and Instagram.