Back pay claim rocks major social care charity

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Unison demands Richmond Fellowship gets "back round the table" in back pay dispute

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1st May 2015 by Graham Martin 1 Comment

A major social care charity has been accused of failing to stump up hundreds of pounds in back pay it owes staff.

Trade union Unison says the Richmond Fellowship Scotland, which provides services right across the country, has broken the law.

The charity recently conceded that it must pay staff the national minimum wage, and that this must cover sleep-over hours, staring from 1 April.

However, Unison has said it will be taking legal action to ensure years’ worth of back pay is given to staff.

The trade union said it is in constructive negotiations with many other charities in Scotland on this issue and is finding solutions which ensure they pay the minimum wage.

Staff work hard providing vital care to some of our most vulnerable people and they deserve decent pay and conditions

Deborah Dyer, Unison regional organiser for the third sector, said: “We are furious with the Richmond Fellowship Scotland. Refusing to pay staff the minimum wage is a very serious matter, they have left us no choice but to start litigation proceedings.

“Staff at Richmond work incredibly hard providing vital care to some of our most vulnerable people and they deserve decent pay and conditions – and not to be fighting with their employer for their legal right to back pay for non payment of the minimum wage. We are still urging Richmond to get back round the table with us to find a solution.”

Mike Kirby, Unison Scottish sectary, added: “We understand the difficulties charities face but you cannot survive with a business model which fails to pay staff the minimum wage.

“This leaves care workers stressed and frustrated, unable to plan their lives, pay their bills or do their job properly. And it means elderly and vulnerable people do not get the service they deserve.

“The Richmond Fellowship has left us with little choice but to deal with this through legal proceedings. We hope, even at this late stage, they will get back round the table to find a solution.”

A Richmond Fellowship Scotland spokesperson said: “we have led and have been at the forefront of tackling this issue, taking active steps to pay our staff on a new basis. Unison knows and has appreciated the background and significant changes in previous employment law interpretation and UK government guidance. All this has resulted in a new view of what the national minimum wage should cover.

"We have had little contact from Unison on this issue and do not understand their statement that we are not negotiating and that other charities are.

"Our staff’s basic pay is well above the minimum wage and when they are asleep their existing additional allowances are getting further enhanced when required.

"This is a key issue that affects all care and support providers in the UK and requires a new funding model to recognise these changes. Any constructive help that Unison can provide in seeking funding solutions is welcomed.”

A spokesperson for the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland added: “We recognise this is a national issue for a number of our members and not just one.

"We have been working closely with national agencies such as the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Government to raise awareness and to find a long term solution.”

24th April 2016 by Lesley freeman

Good afternoon,,, I used to be a support worker for adults with learning disabilities,, my shifts at the included sleep overs a various clients ,, 2 in their own home and residential ,, my query is regarding sleep overs ,, my shift would start at 3 pm till 10 pm ,,I was paid a hourly rate for this ,, I would then be on my sleep over shift 10 pm till 6 am which I was paid £20 and no hourly rate ,,, I no longer work in the industry ,, but would I be able to make a claim for my shifts some months I would do 9 sleep overs