- Immediate wage increase and sick pay provision.
Andy Kerr, Jeane Freeman, a Social Care worker and the virus. Artwork by Gemma Woods Fraser
By Bill Heaney
Social care staff are to receive an immediate 3.3% pay increase backdated from 1 April.
The move, agreed between the Scottish Government and COSLA, means staff will not need to wait for the pay to be backdated at a point later in the year following negotiations, as has happened in previous years.
It is part of a package of measures to support social care workers in recognition of the vital role they are playing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Social care support workers providing direct adult support will have their pay increased to at least the Real Living Wage rate of £9.30 an hour for all hours worked, including sleep-overs and hours worked by personal assistants.
The Scottish Government will also provide funding to third sector and independent providers specifically to ensure staff receive sick pay if they are off work ill or because they are self-isolating.
In addition, the agreed funding increase to these providers will give them the financial flexibility to increase wages across their organisations, and not just to frontline staff.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Scotland’s dedicated social care workers are on the frontline of our national pandemic response. Their work is always hugely valued, and never more so than now.
“The measures we are announcing in partnership with COSLA today will ensure all people providing adult social care receive the Real Living Wage for every hour worked with immediate effect, rather than having to wait until later in the year.
“As well as providing an uplift in pay for all social care workers, this package ensures social care providers have both flexibility to increase wages across their organisations and the necessary funding for sick pay if their employees are off ill or are self-isolating.”
Cllr Stuart Currie, COSLA spokesperson for Health and Social Care, said: “Local Government recognise and value the vital contribution of Scotland’s social care workforce and have made great efforts together to achieve an agreement that confirms the living wage as well as supporting providers where they are experiencing additional cost associated with COVID-19. Today’s announcement reflects the key worker status of social care support staff and confirms support for those off sick or self-isolating.”
Andy Kerr, Chair of the Fair Work in Social Care Group, said: “This announcement will provide social care providers the confidence, in these very challenging times, to ensure a very welcome and deserved pay uplift for social care staff working in Scotland. As well as recognising the importance of their work, today’s announcement also gives reassurance that financial support is available for those who are sick or self-isolating during this unprecedented situation. It also reflects the work we are doing as part of the overall reform of adult social care to build a framework for fair work across the sector.”
Meanwhile, a joint letter from Ms Freeman and Cllr Currie was issued to all local authorities setting out details of the package. This follows their previous letter to local authorities and integrated joint boards to confirm the key worker status of social care workers, and their access to childcare and support where required.
Since October 2016, the Scottish Government has provided funding to enable adult social care workers to be paid the Real Living Wage for waking hours. During 2018/19, this commitment was extended to include those undertaking overnight social care support. The commitment covers adult social care workers providing direct care and support to adults in care homes, care at home, day care and housing support.
- A petition has been started by The Democrat to urge the Scottish Government to introduce a £15 an hour rate for social workers, recognising at last the value of the work they do. Editor