A Shropshire care company has decided to smash through the current salaries for care staff and introduce whopping pay rises of up to 55% above minimum wage.
Bluebird Care, with offices in Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury, and Oswestry town centre, is on a mission to recruit as many new Care Assistants to the sector as it can, and to reward the staff who already work for it.
The company not only wants to attract new carers, it is striving to ensure the value and hard work of each staff member is rewarded equally, regardless of gender, age or how long they have worked for it.
Bluebird Care, which provides at-home care to people living in Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Church Stretton and surrounding areas, has created a new pay structure, in which Care Assistants can earn between 11% and 55% above the national minimum wage (NMW), depending on their age.
Carers under 25 are also receiving a 18% increase on their current salaries, and over 25s will get a 11% pay increase. All Care Assistants will be paid at least £10 an hour, from new recruits who have passed induction, to those who have been in the company several years or more.
Director of Bluebird Care, Ian Barnes, said: “We recognise that all our Care Assistants are expected to deliver the same high standard of care to our customers, regardless of age or experience, and so have made the important decision of introducing a single rate of pay for everyone.
“It’s sad that many people don’t consider a career in care. Instead, they might think that working in shops, bars and restaurants is a better job. But these roles are often low paid, with anti-social hours and limited job satisfaction or career progression.
“We want to open people’s eyes to the realities of care work. An 18-year-old, working full time hours with us would earn over £23k a year. That’s a fantastic salary! The hours with us are flexible to fit around you, we have a career pathway and encourage promotion, even up to senior manager level.
“We offer ongoing training and qualifications, and our pay rates are significantly higher, not only than other care companies locally and regionally, but also than many other sectors such as hospitality and retail. The rewards and opportunities if you opt for a career in care are endless.”
Claire Flavell, Director of Care, said: “We are doing this because we want our staff to earn more than minimum wage. We have never been part of a pay culture that pays less, but we are widening that gap even further.
“We recognise that regardless of age and gender our Care Assistants are doing the same work – and we want them to be paid fairly for that. Our staff are delighted with the move and many have told us how pleased they are we are being inclusive and that they hope other companies and sectors follow our leap of faith and follow suit.”
Ceri Eades, HR Manager, said: “We want to recruit as many people to this sector and our company as possible, so we have reviewed the package we offer to staff. These pay rises are really significant. Over 25s are getting an extra £1.28 per hour, that’s 15% above NMW. For 21 to 24 years its 22% above and for 18 to 20 years its 55% above and a whopping £3.55 more per hour. But everyone will earn at least £10 an hour. It’s a huge move.
“We also want to attract people from other professions, and we believe one way to do this is simply to pay the higher, attractive rates that carers deserve.
“We also want to make sure that pay rates and conditions for our existing staff are maintained and are the best that they can be. We place enormous value on the work of all our care staff working for us.”
Meryl Hughes, a Senior Care Assistant from Oswestry, has worked for the company for seven years in May and been promoted to senior level.
She said: “I wish I’d become a carer earlier. I was an accounts director for an engineering company but was made redundant. I found out Bluebird Care was looking for care assistants in the Oswestry area and the rest is history.
“If I’d have known more about this career, I would have done it earlier. It’s not what you think, and it really is so rewarding. It has changed my life. I would never look back and will continue to do this as long as I’m able.”
Emilio Armes, who has worked for the company for four years, said: “I really, really love my job. I always want to get up and start the day and when I compare this work to my previous role in retail, it’s just so much more rewarding.”
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