Scottish Parliament

New law to protect retail workers in Scotland


A new law has come into force in Scotland which makes it a specific offence to abuse, threaten or assault a retail worker. The new law will lead to tougher action against those who abuse retail workers as well as more offences being reported in the knowledge that action is more likely to be taken by the police.

Volunteers are included within the definition of a retail worker. The Scottish Government sets out that it is “irrelevent whether a person receives payment” for the retail work they undertake so somebody “volunteering in a charity shop could still be a “retail worker”.

The campaign for the new law was led by Scottish MSP, Daniel Johnson, who introduced a private members bill which was later supported by the Scottish Government. When the Bill was initially proposed, the Charity Retail Association lobbied for the inclusion of volunteers.

A Charity Retail Association survey last year, found that 7 in 10 charities had experiences staff and volunteers being verbally abused when seeking to implement covid safety measures.

The UK Government has so far rejected calls for a new criminal offence to help better protect shop workers and volunteers in the rest of the UK.