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Pay increase for north care staff described as 'fantastic news' by Scottish Government minister

By Gordon Calder

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THE decision by a north social care provider to pay staff a minimum of £10 an hour from next week has been hailed as 'fantastic news' by Jamie Hepburn, Scottish Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills.

He made the comment after hearing that Highland Home Carers (HHC) will be increasing the pay of all front-line care and support staff from March 1.

Mr Hepburn said: "We want all employers across Scotland, regardless of size or sector, to pay the real Living Wage so it’s fantastic news that Highland Home Carers will be increasing the wage for their front-line care and support staff.

"As an accredited real Living Wage employer, it is clear they recognise that paying their staff fairly

is not only the right thing to do for individual staff - it also brings huge benefits for their wider


The company is also to increase its employer's contribution to its pension scheme as from April this year. In June 2020 HHC, which is based in Inverness and is the biggest employee owned organisation

in Scotland, awarded its staff a tax-free payment of £500 each for their "extraordinary service and support offered during the coronavirus pandemic."

Company managing director, Campbell Mair, said: "At our January board meeting it was decided that we should take the opportunity to thank and credit our committed, compassionate, and resilient front-line workforce who deliver high quality care and support all day and every day."

Campbell Mair is delighted staff pay will be increased next week
Campbell Mair is delighted staff pay will be increased next week

He said one of the company's key aspirations is that it offers fair work and achieves a consistent and equitable pay structure.

"We are proud that we exceed all national minimum standards in all aspects of our reward policy and take pride to be part of an employee owned organisation that so demonstrably strives to improve the working lives of the social care workforce, creating positive social change.

“In the past two years, we have increased our front-line rates of pay by over 11 per cent. It’s a fantastic

example of employee ownership in action."

HHC intends to review its pay structure every April but decided to bring forward the £10 an hour initiative to recognise the value and benefit to individuals in their workforce.

The move has also been welcomed by NHS Highland chief officer, Louise Bussell, who said: "It

has been an exceptionally challenging year for all frontline health and social care staff who have

done a remarkable job for our population. NHS Highland welcomes the actions being taken by one

of the bigger social care providers."

Operating across the Highland region since 1994, HHC cares for and supports people living in their own homes - people often with highly complex health and social care needs. Staff work with doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

As well as traditional home care, HHC provides one-to-one support work tailored to individuals’

needs and is increasingly involved in providing care outside the traditional care-at-home model.

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