Wirral unveils multi-million pound package to support Borough’s care workers

Almost £12 million extra funding is being committed to supporting care workers on the frontline of tackling the coronavirus epidemic in Wirral.

The move includes a long term commitment to extend payment of the Real Living Wage as well as extra funding for domiciliary carers and those working in supported living.

Additional payments agreed last month to Wirral care providers to ensure staff are paid the Real Living Wage will now be extended beyond the initial six month period.

Wirral Council has led the way inrecognising the vital work that frontline care staff are carrying out in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The authority had announced it would plough an additional £3 million into the sector to support the frontline care staff who support many of the borough’s most vulnerable residents.

The contracts with the care providers will be updated to ensure the additional funding is passed on to frontline staff. The extra cash for care providers is also intended to help them cover costs of COVID-19 related sickness and self-isolation, with an expectation that care workers who are off as a result of Covid-19 related reasons receive full sick pay.

The uplift is aimed at Residential and Nursing Care Homes, Supported Independent Living providers, Direct Payment rates, Reablement, Mobile Nights and Domiciliary Care providers.

Now the authority has agreed to continue this funding through the whole financial year to provide additional security to staff and care providers of the council’s commitment to supporting the sector, at a total of almost £6 million. The Real Living Wage is recalculated every year and the Council is making the pledge to review this commitment every year.

Wirral Council has also now agreed to make payments to domiciliary care providers as well as those providing supported living totalling more than half a million pounds.

Based on £200 per person supported, the move recognises the increased staffing costs (staff self-isolating and providers needing to pay additional staff to cover shifts), additional costs for cleaning products for infection control, additional costs related to procurement and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and additional costs associated with food supply and transport.

The payment is intended to ensure providers can continue to meet the increasing demands for care as people leave hospital following coronavirus infections, and continue to need care and support in their own homes.

The new payments follow a similar one-off payment last month to care homes in Wirral of £200 per council placement to help them with additional costs of cleaning products and higher prices for food.

Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Pat Hackett, said: “This latest boost for care workers is another sign of our determination to help those on the frontline of tackling coronavirus.

“We have been committed from the outset of this pandemic to working closely with the care sector in Wirral, supporting them in every way we can, including the vital financial help they need.

“I am pleased that Wirral has taken a leading role in making sure care workers in our borough are recognised and helped.”

David Jones, Wirral Unison Branch Secretary, said: “We welcome the decision of Wirral Council to provide additional support for the care sector, and that this allows full sick pay to be provided for care workers, something Unison has longed campaigned for. We look forward to working with the council to implement these positive changes.“

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