A SICK PAY system offered by a care home firm, with a facility in Clydebank, is making its staff “vulnerable” to financial difficulties, it has been claimed. 

Our sister paper, the Glasgow Times, previously reported that an Advinia Health Care worker demanded her employer to roll-out full pay while members of staff have time off work due to suspected or confirmed coronavirus.

The frontline worker – who wished not to be named – voiced her financial concerns after she and over 20 of her colleagues lived on the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) of £94 per week as they had to isolate due to the virus.

The complaint comes one month after Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced that social care workers in Scotland would be guaranteed better sick pay during the outbreak.

Advinia Health Care has since highlighted its Wagestream service – which gives employees early access to a percentage of their earned pay before payday, and helps prevent staff getting into debt. Staff who take sick leave could also use Wagestream to access a proportion of the money they had earned that month up to that point.

The employee has said that this service has made staff at the care homes “vulnerable” to “vicious” financial difficulties if they need to take time out of action.

She said: “This Wagestream service doesn’t help us – it leaves us in our own debt. 

“It makes us vulnerable a vicious cycle of continuing to borrow our wages and leaving us short-changed every single month.

“We start off having no money if we’re off sick on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) so we’ll have to borrow from the month’s wages to get by.

“Then, in turn, the same thing happens the following month because we’re already short on that month. It doesn’t resolve anything.

“In terms of bills, it leaves us absolutely stuck. We’ll just end up borrowing our wages if we’re off sick again to make ends meet.

“Other care companies seem to be offering full pay while their employees take time off sick just fine.

“We’ve run their homes during coronavirus, put our own lives at risk, got infected with coronavirus ourselves and this is how we are treated. There’s no empathy.”

The firm has said that it is now looking to ensure it can take “full advantage” of available funding when guidelines are updated.

A spokesman said: “As such, we are working closely with Health & Social Care Partnerships across Scotland, COSLA and Scottish Care on this issue.

“We are looking to ensure that we are ready to take full advantage of available funding when the guidelines on social care sustainability are updated, as this will ensure we can act with confidence.

“This will be in the best interests of our colleagues, and indeed the residents, who depend on us for their care and support.”

GMB Scotland organiser Kirsty Nimmo said: “Advinia is one of the UK’s biggest care home providers, they can more than afford to protect their workers with full pay should they fall sick with coronavirus or need to isolate with symptoms, but it seems they are congratulating themselves for being a little less exploitative than a pay-day lender. 

“It’s scandalous but make no mistake about it, operators like Advinia will be dragged kicking and screaming to do the right thing by their workers, and ultimately so will the government as we develop a national care plan that delivers proper value for our frontline heroes.”