It’s May 1 – and Leeds Labour Council has celebrated this May day by signing up to Unison’s Ethical Care Charter – protecting Care workers and the people they serve.
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The charter, given in full below, commits to an end to the working practices which have meant care workers rushing from patient to patient, 15 minute visits, no pay for travel time and zero hours contracts. It commits to a series of workers’ rights – sick pay, training, opportunities to share best practice, and the Living Wage as a minimum. It demands clear procedures for following up carers’ concerns about those they care for.

In a nutshell – it protects the dignity of the cared for and the carer.

Leeds is among the very largest of the local authorities which have committed to the charter.

As Keith Wakefield, Labour Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“This May Day is a great opportunity to reflect on the vital contribution care workers make to our communities. We are determined to make sure Leeds City Council is rewarding homecare workers properly for the vital services they provide every day to thousands of Leeds citizens.

“Leeds is the biggest city to sign up to the charter and we are absolutely committed to people in Leeds receiving the high-quality homecare we would all want for ourselves and for our loved ones. That means we need to recognise everyone who receives homecare as an individual person, with their own particular needs.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, who has responsibility for Adult Social Care, emphasized:

“This Charter gives a benchmark for the future of homecare in Leeds, and we are very proud to have signed up to it. Providing care can be one of the toughest roles to have, and if we don’t treat those delivering it decently, it makes it harder for them to do the job properly.”

With Councils under so much pressure from the LibDem/Tory Coalition’s savage cuts, Labour in Leeds has made clear its priorities – and the sick and vulnerable are at the top of that list.

An end to 15 minute visits and to zero hour contracts is national Labour policy, too.

Once again Labour in Leeds shows how Labour makes good on its promises – because it really believes in them. They’re not just cheap electioneering. Protecting the weak and vulnerable are central to Labour’s principles, locally and nationally.

Use your vote to secure a Labour government, here in Leeds and at Westminster. And if you’d like not only to vote, but to help do that, support the campaign for Alex Sobel to win here in Leeds NW – sign up now.

The Ethical Care Charter

Stage 1
The starting point for commissioning of visits will be client need and not minutes or tasks. Workers will have the freedom to provide appropriate care and will be given time to talk to their clients.

The time allocated to visits will match the needs of the clients. In general, 15-minute visits will not be used as they undermine the dignity of the clients.

Homecare workers will be paid for their travel time, their travel costs and other necessary expenses such as mobile phones.

Visits will be scheduled so that homecare workers are not forced to rush their time with clients or leave their clients early to get to the next one on time.

Those homecare workers who are eligible must be paid statutory sick pay.

Stage 2
Clients will be allocated the same homecare worker(s) wherever possible.

Zero hour contracts will not be used in place of permanent contracts.

Providers will have a clear and accountable procedure for following up staff concerns about their clients’ wellbeing.

All homecare workers will be regularly trained to the necessary standard to provide a good service (at no cost to themselves and in work time).

Homecare workers will be given the opportunity to regularly meet co-workers to share best practice and limit their isolation.

Stage 3
All homecare workers will be paid at least the Living Wage (as of November 2013 it is currently £7.65 an hour for the whole of the UK apart from London. For London it is £8.80 an hour. The Living Wage will be calculated again in November 2014 and in each subsequent November).

If Council employed homecare workers paid above this rate are outsourced it should be on the basis that the provider is required, and is funded, to maintain these pay levels throughout the contract.

Homecare workers will be covered by an occupational sick pay scheme to ensure that staff do not feel pressurised to work when they are ill in order to protect the welfare of their vulnerable clients.

Providers will have a clear and accountable procedure for following up staff concerns about their clients’ wellbeing.

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