The commitment forms part of trade union Unison’s ethical care charter, which Manchester City Council signed on 23 October 2017. The charter provides minimum standards for residential and home care providers, and sets out a series of protections for care staff. This includes paying employees the voluntary living wage rate of at least £8.45 an hour, not using zero hours contracts, providing occupational sick pay and regular free training opportunities, as well as setting out a clear and accountable process for staff to raise concerns.
Under the charter agreement, Manchester City Council has also committed to paying home care staff for their travel time and expenses, as well as providing opportunities for employees to meet together in order to avoid potential isolation. The ethical care charter also requires that residential care staff are paid for unsocial hours and sleep-ins.
Councillor Bev Craig, executive member for adult services, health and wellbeing at Manchester City Council, said: “Home care and residential care staff provide a vital and valuable service to some of the most vulnerable residents in Manchester and we want to ensure that they are recognised for the invaluable work that they do alongside improving the quality of care for Manchester citizens.
“Manchester City Council already pays the Manchester living wage, set as the real living wage, and has committed to look to paying this for commissioned services. Pledging our support to the ethical care charter is the first step in this journey, along with commissioning models to see improved standards and working conditions for care staff, as we work in partnership with our health [employees] to make significant improvements.”
Dave Prentis, general secretary at Unison, added: “Making this commitment to decent employment conditions for care [employees] is vital for improving the quality of life for the people they look after. Unison’s ethical care charters are leading the way in highlighting the importance of care work and in fighting to win the pay and conditions they deserve.
“The charters set out minimum employment standards that will end the bad practices that we too often see in social care. Care staff should not be having to dash around between service users without the time to care. They should not be on poverty pay or having to work when they are ill. They should not be isolated and they should not be afraid to raise concerns about services with their employer.
“Manchester is to be applauded for being the first council in Greater Manchester to sign up to the Unison charters. Unison will continue to work with all 10 authorities in the city region to pursue better standards in the sector through the Care Workers for Change Campaign.”