Some of Bristol’s lowest paid care staff can look forward to receiving at least the National Living Wage thanks to a £1.12m investment agreed by Bristol City Council’s Cabinet today (Tuesday 3 July).
Most homecare staff in Bristol are employed by private care providers and are often some of the lowest paid workers in the city. Despite this they are responsible for helping some of the most vulnerable people to live independently at home for as long as possible through helping them with things like washing, dressing and getting their meals.
The council wants to help improve standards across the board for these carers by encouraging home care providers to increase wages to at least the National Living Wage of £8.75 per hour for their work with an aim of £9 to £9.50 per hour.
This will be funded by an investment from the Council on the basis that both care staff and service users benefit from it.
Cllr Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “This money is a way of recognising the hard work we see care workers do on a daily basis. Their work is crucial in order to support others to live on in their own homes for longer with dignity.
“As part of our Better Lives programme we want to support more people to remain independent longer and live more fulfilling lives in our city. By helping people to live for longer in their own homes we are also taking pressure off the residential and nursing homes in Bristol. This will have a positive impact on both our services and those of our local health organisations.
“Not only is it right to recognise the great work that goes on around the city every day but there is also a clear economic reason to do so. I hope this measure will encourage more people to join the sector locally to find out what a rewarding career care work can be.”
Through the Proud to Care campaign the council has been helping providers to try and recruit more care staff in the city including setting up a Career and Jobs Hub in the Galleries Shopping Centre.
Today’s announcement forms part of the council’s work to implement the first stages of Unison’s Ethical Care Charter which aims to ensure adequate staffing levels and sufficient time for workers to look after vulnerable people.
Gav Brooks, UNISON organiser for Bristol, said: “Care workers do some of the most important jobs in our city, but too often they’re underpaid and underappreciated. As the union for care workers we’re pleased to work with Bristol council so staff and clients benefit from higher standards.
“There’s a long way to go but implementing stage one of the ethical care charter shows the city council is serious about improving care. We look forward to implementing the rest of the ethical care charter soon.”
Full details of the proposal are available in the cabinet papers from the meeting which can be viewed on the council’s website .