Specialist care provider offers staff winter fuel bonus

Neil Russell

A winter fuel payment is among the measures being introduced by specialist care group, PJ Care, to help staff manage the cost of living crisis.

The Milton Keynes-based company, which runs three centres caring for adults with progressive neurological conditions and acquired brain injuries, is making two payments over the winter of £200 to any member of staff earning £15 per hour or less.  

PJ Care is also paying the tax on these payments so each individual will receive the full amount towards their utility bills.

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The company, which has an almost 600-strong workforce, has also introduced a new care practitioner role which will increase the skills of a number of care staff, taking their hourly rate to £15.

A wage drawn-down app has also been launched, giving staff the option to sell back a  week’s annual leave to help them cope with rising costs.

“We very much want to pay our staff more but that takes time and involves up-skilling the team so we can work more efficiently,” said PJ Care chairman Neil Russell.  

“The wage draw-down app will help if the washing machine breaks or the car needs urgent repairs. If that happens at the end of the month, we know that sometimes the money just isn’t there.  We have safeguards in place to prevent over-use of the system but we hope this will take away some of the stresses that unexpected events can bring.”

Every member of the workforce is also eligible to enter a prize draw to win a Fiat 500 Dolce Vita Hybrid.

“This is a thank you for our team and, as we said last year, if it helps us to keep just one staff member and not have to recruit and train new staff, then it more than pays for itself,” added Neil.  

“Gaps in the rota have to be filled with staff doing additional shifts or agency staff, who cost us a great deal more.”

The company is also looking at efficiencies in an effort to manage its own rising costs. While energy increases were anticipated many months ago and deals secured for the next 18 months, food costs alone have increased by 17 percent. 

“We have reduced our profit margins and our board hasn’t had a pay rise for four years,” continued Neil.  “We have made cutbacks but staffing levels and the care of our residents remain unchanged.”

Tags : cost of living crisisPJ Care
Adrian Back

The author Adrian Back

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