The largest social care charity in Scotland has announced plans to raise pay for frontline staff above the real living wage.
In a move backed by trade union Unison, ENABLE Scotland said that its latest pay offer all frontline staff £10 per hour from the start of October.
The change will affect 1,800 members of staff at the charity.
ENABLE Scotland had an income of just over £49m last year and provided services in 27 local authority areas in Scotland, according to filings with Companies House.
Pay rise above NHS
The real living wage outside London is £9.50, so paying £10 will represent a pay rise of more than 5%, and will mean paying staff more than required under commissioning contracts.
The charity pointed out in a statement that this is higher than the 4% rise secured by staff at NHS Scotland.
ENABLE Scotland said that it was making the change after a trial during which it paid around a third of staff over the living wage. The trial showed that it was easier to recruit and retain employees when they were paid more.
The charity is now planning to trial paying £11 per hour on some of its sites, to gather further evidence of the affect on staff wellbeing, recruitment and retention.
Charity: We want to show ‘impact of enhanced pay’
Theresa Shearer, the chief executive of the ENABLE group, said: “With labour shortages being experienced in several key worker roles throughout the economy, ENABLE Scotland’s strategic intervention will ensure we are able to continue to recruit and retain skilled and motivated frontline personnel to deliver excellent quality, human rights-driven, self-directed health and social care through our personal assistant model.
“As everyone is aware, fully addressing the challenges facing the social care sector will require substantial Scottish Government investment and reform, and we welcome the current consultation on a National Care Service.
“However, the social care workforce and the people we work for need action now and in the future too. We are acting now, and ENABLE Scotland is taking the initiative to demonstrate the impact of enhanced pay on the wellbeing of the social care workforce and on outcomes for the people we work for.”
John Mooney, from Unison Scotland, praised the charity’s leadership and said: “As the sector is largely dependent on the rate of pay funded by commissioning local authorities, we warmly welcome ENABLE Scotland’s commitment to enhancing frontline pay beyond the real Living Wage, and we look forward to working with them, alongside our members, to progress this commitment and demonstrate the positive impact this will have on recruitment and retention.”
Research by the Living Wage Foundation earlier this month found that a fifth of charity staff in the UK are paid beneath the living wage.
Editor's note: This story was amended on 28 September to correct the charity's total income, which is £49.1m, not £44m.