Unison sets out charter for residential care

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.
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