Better working conditions for Londoners, holding employers to account – that’s the promise of a new scheme launched by the Mayor today.

But critics have branded Sadiq Khan’s Good Work Standard a “damp squib” that will fail to help workers enduring the worst conditions in the capital.

The scheme will give a stamp of approval to employers who offer good pay, better holidays and sick leave, and training opportunities for staff.

It aims to tackle in-work poverty in the city. More than half of Londoners living in poverty come from working families – some 1.3 million people are affected, up 50 percent in the last decade.

Beyond the London Living Wage

To achieve the new standard, employers must meet all ‘foundation’ criteria – legal minimum standards – and be London Living Wage accredited, meaning they pay at least £10.55 per hour.

They must then meet the majority of further ‘acheivement’ criteria – but not all.

The additional checklist ranges from better holiday and sick leave or interest-free loans for key living costs, to sharing written disciplinary rules with workers or having a health and well-being strategy.

Details of which criteria have been met by accredited employers will not be published, meaning the public will not know what businesses have done to receive the award.

‘Another PR Gimmick’

Early adopters of the standard include London City Airport, financial firms EY and KPMG, and beauty store LUSH – but the Mayor has not said how many businesses he hopes to sign up in the coming months.

Conservative assembly member Susan Hall said that with just 12 businesses and 18 public sector bodies signed up at launch, the scheme would have little impact for most Londoners.

She said: “This Mayor has demonstrated time after time that he prioritises spin over substance, and the early signs show that Khan’s Good Work Standard will end up being nothing more than another PR gimmick.”

‘Box-Checking Exercise’

Green assembly member Caroline Russell said the absence of sign-up targets showed a lack of confidence in the scheme.

She said: “We’ve waited a long time for the Mayor’s good work standard, but it’s a damp squib that won’t help the thousands of Londoners in the gig economy who need better pay, better employment benefits and a real change in the working culture.

She added: “This voluntary, unenforced scheme is a box-checking exercise that will only appeal to employers already meeting good work standards, rather than the businesses who need to up their game.”

Liberal Democrat assembly member Caroline Pidgeon said she hoped the standard would be a “real success” – but like the London Living Wage, it would not lead to automatic improvements.

The number of workers paid less than the London Living Wage has doubled since its introduction in 2005 – up to 875,000 in 2018.

“Doing the right thing”

Sadiq Khan said the Good Work Standard would help all Londoners have the same opportunities that he had growing up in the city.

He said: “Employers will make these changes because they want to do the right thing, but also because they will see great benefit in terms of recruitment and productivity. ”