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Care home bosses accused of risking lives of residents and staff over sick pay

CARE-HOME bosses were accused today of putting the lives of residents and staff at risk by refusing to pay full sick pay to workers who self-isolate.

Unison said that despite financial support offered by councils, care-home owners were refusing to pay sick pay, forcing staff to work even when showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

The union in Salford said the city council’s package of protections for care workers during the pandemic involves financial support for providers in exchange for guarantees that include full pay to care workers who have to self-isolate.

But the union said that some companies were still refusing to pay full wages during absences. Among them are some of the largest care providers in the country — HC-One, Creative Support and Anchor Hanover — according to Unison.

In a statement, Anchor Hanover said it took the decision in March to pay staff above the statutory sick pay rate and launched a hardship scheme to provide interest-free loans of up to £1,000 to staff.

One Creative Support worker, who did not want to be named, said: “We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. They should forget about how many days you’ve had off and focus on what’s important: staff and service users not dying.”

Unison branch secretary Steve North said: “Despite the fact that it would cost them nothing to protect their own employees, many of the largest care providers in Salford have simply refused to implement the offer. 

“This is not just an insult to the care workers who have put their own lives at risk during this pandemic, it also puts every resident of Salford at risk by potentially increasing the rate of coronavirus transmission in our city.”

All three companies were asked for comment.

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