A LABOUR attack on the SNP has backfired after the party made a fundamental misunderstanding about what powers are devolved to Scotland.

Analysis from Scottish Labour suggested that Scottish workers are doing an average of 7.7 hours of unpaid overtime a week.

Clocking all this extra time from Scottish workers up to a year amounts to around 100 million hours of unpaid work, according to Scottish Labour which suggested that staff could be entitled to £1.4 billion in unpaid wages.

A tweet from the party's Twitter account that workers not being paid enough was the fault of the SNP government in Scotland.

In fact, employment law is a reserved power, meaning Westminster has control of reforming the legislation for overtime work.

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The Scottish Government minister responsible for employment and fair work, Richard Lochhead, reminded Labour of the fact Scotland does not currently have the power to reform overtime laws.

He said: "Employment law is reserved to the UK - perhaps the Labour Party should back Scottish independence and giving Holyrood the powers we need rather than misrepresenting issues like this in an attempt to score points against @theSNP."

The party was also reminded that they wanted to keep employment law reserved as part of the Smith Commission.

The Smith Commission - set up following the 2014 independence referendum - re-examined devolved powers for Scotland but rejected the devolution of employment law.

Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman, who sat on the Smith Commission, noted in 2015 that Labour blocked the idea of devolving employment law, preferring to ally itself with UK law.

The party also publicly stated this position.

Former Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard (below) called for the devolution of employment powers in 2019 during a speech to trade unions.

Leonard - who stepped down as the party's leader at the beginning of 2021 - had previously attacked the Scottish Government on matters of employment law.

Scottish Labour has since changed tack on this topic under the leadership of Anas Sarwar.

The article shared by Scottish Labour with their tweet includes quotes from the party's finance spokesperson, Daniel Johnson, which make no mention of the Scottish Government's responsibility.

The National: Former Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard supported the devolution of employment lawFormer Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard supported the devolution of employment law

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However, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: "While employment law is reserved, we are clear that all employees must be paid fairly for the work they do.

“That is why the Scottish Government continues to support payment of, at least, the Real Living Wage to build a more resilient economy, a more equal labour market, and foster inclusive growth.

“Scotland has the highest proportion of jobs in the UK paying at least the Real Living Wage or more, and proportionately there are five times more accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.

“Through our Fair Work First policy the Scottish Government has consistently called for employers in all sectors to provide workers with a fair and equitable wage for the work they do along with safe and secure working environments.

“We also call for employers to promote diverse and inclusive workplace cultures where staff are engaged and have their voices heard.”

Scottish Labour has been contacted for comment to clarify the tweet.