Earlier this year, the Scottish Government promised that all social care workers would get at least the Living Wage, currently at £8.25 per hour.
Social care providers have been badly squeezed over the last few years with frozen budgets and unrealistic tenders from councils. Staff wages have been the main victim and in many areas retail workers are paid more than care workers.
Now with only a few weeks to go till the deadline, Scottish Care and CCPS are reporting that many councils have not put funding plans in place yet
Some councils have made reasonable efforts to resolve the matter. Aberdeen City, which has long had a problem recruiting social care worker due to the high wages on offer elsewhere has offered a rise of 6.4% on all contracts.
Many social care providers already pay more than the living wage and the question of how to support those who have always valued their staff has challenged local authorities.
Falkirk has raised the price for all hourly contracts to £16.50 which they think will allow providers to pay the Living Wage. For those who were higher than this, there is only a 50p an hour increase.
Glasgow demonstrates the difference between Care Homes and Care At Home services. Care Homes are covered by a National Contract so Glasgow is increasing its offer for this by 6.5%. Its offer to Care at Home providers is only 3.1%.
North Lanarkshire has not stated what it is going to do but it has increased wages of ”in house” staff to £12.17 per hour at a cost of £5.4 million because of “equal pay” legislation. It’s a shame such rules only applies to council staff.
Part of what drives the reluctance to meet the full cost of the Living Wage, is that any savings can be used by councils for other purposes. East Lothian is planning to put its “saving” of twice the cost of the Living Wage into more Care At Home Hours.
In another development, Glasgow is giving some providers an opportunity to be more flexible in their “Proof of Concept” scheme. They will no longer count hours of support so providers can spend more on wages as long as services users still get good outcomes. Of course, there is still a sting in the tail, with the council expecting this scheme to deliver 5% budget savings!