Connected Health has announced the creation of 500 new jobs and adopted the London Living Wage rate for all care workers across its Northern Ireland operations.
The 500 new homecare posts, which include both full-time and part-time roles, will be rolled out by Connected Health across Northern Ireland over the next 12 months.
The independent domiciliary care provider is leading the way by offering the higher rate of pay to attract and retain more homecare workers, as a general staffing shortage continues to cripple the social care and health care sectors.
Having last year become an accredited Living Wage Employer, with a minimum hourly wage of £9.90 (the current government minimum wage for over 25s is £8.91 per hour), Connected Health has now gone a step further to offer the Real Living Wage rate for London, £11.05 per hour, right across its NI operations.
Theresa Morrison, Connected Health’s Director of Clinical Services and Training, says the Department of Health’s recent introduction of a new funding support package played an important role in empowering the local homecare company to offer the increased rate of pay.
“We are delighted to announce the creation of 500 new care worker posts across our Northern Ireland operations to further meet surging demand for high-quality homecare provision in our communities.
“The Department of Health’s £23m support package to help the entire social care sector recruit and retain staff is playing a big part in our move to provide our hard-working teams with a fair wage.
“Connected Health is proud to have worked closely with the Health Minister Robin Swann ahead of the funding announcement in November, and now we are eager to put this much needed and deserved additional money into our care workers’ pockets.”
As demand for home care continues to increase across Northern Ireland and beyond, Ms Morrison says the social care sector as a whole must continue to increase its efforts to address the current staffing deficit.
“Our hospitals are under severe pressure and increased homecare capacity in our communities provides a key solution to alleviating that pressure. As a sector, we need many more local carers working in their own communities and Connected Health is continuing to lead the drive to substantially increase staffing capacity in order to meet unprecedented and ever-growing demand,” adds Ms Morrison.
The minimum wage increase at Connected Health is a significant milestone for care workers in NI, which has the highest proportion of non-living wage jobs in all UK regions (21.3%), with over 236,000 jobs paying less than the real Living Wage.
Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation said: “I am delighted by Connected Health’s trailblazing steps to add 500 new staff on to the London Living Wage. By doing so, they are taking a leading role not only among Northern Irish employers – raising the bar on what good business standards look like – but also within the healthcare sector as a whole, recognising the essential work our carers have done for us over the past two years, and rewarding them for their tireless efforts.
“With the cost of living continuing to rise sharply, Connected Health’s investment in their people will improve both the livelihoods of their staff, and the resilience of their business in these difficult times, and I hope that many others follow their fantastic example.”
Amy Napier joined Connected Health in July 2019, having worked previously as a dental receptionist. She now works full time caring for clients in the Lower Falls area of Belfast.
Amy said: “Working in Connected Health has allowed me to earn the best wage I’ve ever earned, and I was able to buy my first home in December.”
Christopher Brady joined the company in January 2020, having previously worked in hospitality. He also works full time covering clients in the Lower Falls area of Belfast.
Christopher said: “I’m currently undertaking my Level 3 in Health & Social Care through the Connected Academy [Connected Health’s training division) and I’m excited about my potential for career progression in the company.
“The increase in pay I receive by working for Connected Health has ensured I have money left at the end of the month, I’m saving for a car and hoping for some sunny holidays in 2022,” he added.