UNISON will campaign for decision makers to adopt a new Residential Care Charter setting out minimum standards and employment conditions to deliver decent care. This includes employment levels, pay, conditions and training. The charter comprises five elements:
Protecting and supporting residents
- Employers will maintain adequate staff ratios, that enable quality care to be delivered: This must be care that extends beyond basic tasks and includes a social dimension
- Care workers, residents and families must be given information about how to raise concerns and protection if they decide it is necessary
- Employers will have clear and accountable procedures to follow up any concerns raised
- Care home providers will ensure all residents have ready access to any NHS services required
- Providers will carry out thorough risk assessments to ensure the safety of residents and care workers
- Employers will provide care workers with safe equipment.Care workers will be given time to provide regular activities and effective forms of therapy for residents.
Training and support for employees
- All care workers – including bank and relief staff – will be regularly trained to meet the needs of all residents, as set out in their care plans
- Training requirements will be met. Training must be free and carried out in work time, so cover staff must be arranged
- DVD and e-learning will be used to complement high quality, face-to-face learning
Decent pay for quality work
- All residential care workers will be paid at least the Living Wage – as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation or Greater London Authority every November
- Councils which outsource employees on or above the Living Wage should ensure that new providers are required to maintain pay levels throughout the contract
- Extra payment will be made for working unsocial hours, including weekends and Bank Holidays
- Pay for sleep-ins must be at a level to ensure that the average hourly rate does not drop below the Living Wage
- Holiday periods must also be paid as if at work
- All care workers will be paid occupational sick pay
- Employers will pay for Disclosure and Barring Service checks.
Time to care
- Zero hours contracts will not be used
- Care workers will be given adequate breaks during their working day
- Care workers will be paid for the time it takes to carry out a proper handover between shifts, which ensures safety and continuity of care for residents
- Rotas will be planned well in advance to ensure adequate staffing levels and allow planned, time off for employees.
Part of the union
- Employers will recognise UNISON – negotiating pay and conditions with them and encouraging employees to join them
- UNISON representatives will be given adequate paid time for the required training
- Employers will provides opportunities for UNISON to meet members and employees as necessary.