Social care charity goes beyond the real living wage for frontline staff

Move follows in-house trial that showed the positive impact of enhanced pay on recruitment and retention

UNISON has welcomed a move by Scotland’s largest charity for people with learning disabilities to raise the pay of all its frontline staff to a rate that’s above the real living wage.

From this month, ENABLE Scotland is paying 1,800 of its social care staff £10 an hour. The real living wage outside of London, set by the Living Wage Foundation, is £9.50. The charity says it will mean an extra £1,000 a year for a full-time personal assistant.

The charity both advocates for and supports people with learning disabilities, helping them and their families to live, work and take part in their communities. It provides a range of person-centred services designed to adapt to the needs of the people using them.

It became an accredited Living Wage Employer in November 2020. At that time it also introduced a trial scheme, paying around 35% of its frontline workforce beyond the real living wage, which proved the positive impact of enhanced pay on recruitment and retention.

Theresa Shearer, the chief executive of the ENABLE group, said: “ENABLE Scotland’s strategic intervention will ensure we are able to continue to recruit and retain skilled and motivated frontline personnel to deliver excellent quality, human rights-driven, self-directed health and social care through our personal assistant model.

“As everyone is aware, fully addressing the challenges facing the social care sector will require substantial Scottish Government investment and reform, and we welcome the current consultation on a National Care Service.

“However, the social care workforce and the people we work for need action now. ENABLE Scotland is taking the initiative to demonstrate the impact of enhanced pay on the wellbeing of the social care workforce and on outcomes for the people we work for.”

John Mooney, from UNISON Scotland said: “As the sector is largely dependent on the rate of pay funded by commissioning local authorities, we warmly welcome ENABLE Scotland’s commitment to enhancing frontline pay beyond the real living wage.

“We look forward to working with them, alongside our members, to progress this commitment and demonstrate the positive impact this will have on recruitment and retention.

“Enhanced pay in the social care sector must be a first step on the path to a long-term settlement built on the principles of Fair Work which embeds parity of esteem for the social care workforce with their brilliant colleagues in the NHS.”