Leicestershire Care Home employer plans cuts to pay and sick leave

Care home employer’s plans to cut pay and sick leave for over 100 staff ‘beyond belief’, says UNISON

Plans by a major Leicestershire care home employer to make drastic cuts to pay, sick leave and holidays for more than 100 staff have today (Thursday) been condemned by UNISON. 

The move by Leicestershire County Care, whose parent company Johnson Care Group made accumulated profits of £4.8m last year, was branded ‘beyond belief’ by the union and an ‘insult’ to already low-paid workers who are putting their lives on the line during the coronavirus pandemic.

UNISON has now written to councillors demanding they intervene to protect staff who provide support to elderly and vulnerable residents in more than a dozen care homes across the county.

Those targeted by Leicestershire County Care are currently on contracts drawn up when the staff were employed by Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council, according to the union.

Last week, the care firm informed UNISON that it wants to scrap payments for night work, weekend shifts and overtime. The worst affected workers will see their weekly pay cut by nearly a third (30%).

Other measures include axing of the existing sick pay scheme and shifting these workers onto the minimum state entitlement of just £95.85 a week. Annual holiday entitlement will be cut by two weeks, with maternity, paternity and adoption leave all reduced to the absolute minimum, says UNISON.   

In an online meeting, the company has told the union that the cutbacks are necessary because of additional costs incurred as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. These include having to employ agency staff to cover for workers who are self-isolating and purchasing personal protection equipment (PPE), while being unable to admit new residents which would have generated income.

UNISON East Midlands regional secretary Chris Jenkinson said: “It’s beyond belief and insulting to staff that Leicestershire Care would behave like this, especially at a time when staff are putting their lives on the line.

“These are among the lowest paid workers in the country and they already struggle to make ends meet. The cutbacks will hit them hard and highlights the desperate state of the social care sector. 

“Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council must take some responsibility – they commissioned these services. Their leaders must step in and stand up for the rights of these workers who are providing a vital service in these unprecedented times.”

Notes to editors: 

– Leicestershire County Care employs more than 900 staff overall across 13 care homes in Leicestershire. This figure includes over 100 who were formerly employed by the local authority and are represented by UNISON.

– A copy of the letter sent to Councillor Rushton can be see here

– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

Media contacts: 
Chris Jenkinson M: 07944 191821 E: c.jenkinson@unison.co.uk