Akari Care, the Birmingham-based operator of 36 care homes, has set aside £1.35m to bring all its staff in line with the National Living Wage (NLW).
The care provider is implementing the new NLW rates for all employees who currently earn less than £7.20 regardless of their age, and that all current differentials are being maintained for all grades of staff.
Qualified nurses have already benefited from a bespoke incentive scheme that was introduced last year. This means a 50p per hour pay rise for the company’s front line staff, Akari Care said.
First-year apprentices, who are exempt from the NLW, will be paid £7.00 an hour, ahead of the current minimum wage.
Lynn Fearn, deputy CEO of Akari Care, said: “In order to ensure a balanced and developing workforce that will continue to drive our quality agenda it is important that we can attract and retain talented, committed and experienced staff, along with younger people into the company. They will be our senior care assistants, team leaders, clinical leads and home managers of the future. Akari Care values all of its employees and the board reached the conclusion that age should not be a barrier to earning the National Living Wage.”
In addition, said Fearn, the company took the view that maintaining the pay differentials for all grades of staff played an important part in securing the cohesive, consistent and motivated teams that are the key to providing high quality care.
She admits there will be a “considerable impact” on the company’s payroll but said investment in its employees is a vital part of its business strategy.
“Recruitment and retention is a challenge faced right across the care sector but is an integral part of delivering high quality care and these decisions are an indication of the value that the company places on those who are at the front line of delivering vital services and the respect with which they are regarded.”