Enable Scotland clarifies £2.50 an hour pay rate
Third Force News, by Robert Armour
Disability charity clarifies position over claims it pays staff rates akin to £2.50 an hour.
Enable Scotland has defended itself after it emerged it was paying sleepover care staff rates well below the minimum wage.
A spat between Unison and the disabled charity’s board led to staff members coming forward to say they were being paid rates up to £4 less than the minimum wage.
However the charity has clarified its position to TFN saying sleepover staff – who as part of their job stay over in supported accommodation – are paid care standard set rates and hourly rates only apply when they are woken and required to support service users.
These staff, says the charity, represent less than 1% of its workforce and were transferred to Enable from another provider when it acquired the service provision.
In this instance, terms and conditions from their previous employer also transfer in this situation via the TUPE (transfer of undertakings protection of employment) rule.
The sleepover rate of £25.77 relates to less than 1% of our workforce
It said it was working in partnership with Unison to bring the situation to a conclusion as soon as possible.
A spokeswoman explained: “First of all, the standard hourly rate our frontline staff are paid is £7.80.
“We are currently engaged in talks with Unison to increase our standard hourly rate by 5p to take it to £7.85. This is the current living wage.
“Secondly, the nature of a sleepover rate is that it is a standard payment to individual workers for sleeping in a person’s house overnight. It is not an hourly rate. If the individual is woken, their hourly rate comes into effect.”
She added: “We employ 1,400 frontline support staff. The sleepover rate of £25.77 relates to less than 1% of our workforce.”
Unison say all care staff should be paid hourly rates. A 2013 Employment Appeal Tribunal judgement ruled that a senior care assistant who carried out sleepover shifts was entitled to receive the national minimum wage for all night shift hours, regardless of whether they were actually working at the time.
Unison began negotiations with Enable on 9 April, and a second round of talks is scheduled for 23 April.
Deborah Dyer, regional organiser for Unison, said: "While we have been working with Enable Scotland to achieve a living wage for all Enable staff, this has yet to be achieved.
"Unison is currently engaged in negotiations with Enable Scotland on a number of issues including pay.
"We have further meetings scheduled and look forward to positive engagement with the new interim chief executive, Theresa Shearer, to resolve some of the pay concerns being raised by staff."