How can the Scottish Government best protect retail workers? Holyrood Committee asks

15.11.2019

A bill aimed to increase retail workers’ protection is to be scrutinised by the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee.

The Committee has issued a call for views on the Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill. The Member’s Bill was introduced by Daniel Johnson MSP and aims to increase protection for retail workers by: 

• Creating a new statutory offence of assaulting, threatening, abusing, obstructing or hindering a retail worker; and 

• Creating a statutory aggravation to that offence where the retail worker is enforcing a statutory age restriction. 

Committee Convener, Gordon Lindhurst MSP said: 

“This proposed legislation is specifically intended to look at protections for retail workers by creating a new offence to apply when a retail worker is assaulted, threatened, abused, obstructed or hindered in the carrying out of their job. 

“We want to hear from individuals and organisations about the impact that this piece of legislation would have alongside current legislation that exists.”

Background

The Bill and accompanying documents are available on the Scottish Parliament’s website 

The questions the Committee would like to hear views on are: 

• What are your views on the Bill and what impact will it have?

• Having regard to existing offences (e.g. common law assault), is there a need for a new statutory offence of assaulting, threatening, abusing, obstructing or hindering a retail worker?

• What are the potential benefits or problems in having such an offence?

• Should any new offence include all of the elements proposed in the Bill (e.g. should obstructing or hindering a retail worker be a crime, as is already the case in relation to various providers of emergency services)?

• Is the focus on retail workers appropriate (e.g. is it too narrow in not covering other workers who may, because of their work, be vulnerable to abusive behaviour) 

• What difference will the proposed aggravation, where the enforcement of a statutory age restriction is involved, make?

• What are the financial implications of the proposals?

• What other action is or should be taken to protect retail and other workers?

• Are there any other aspects of the Bill you would like to comment on?

The call for evidence, which is open until Friday 31 January 2020, can be found online here.

 

 

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