Hundreds of Lifeways workers employed across the North West are coming together to campaign for appropriate holiday pay – and now over 70 politicians have signed an open letter supporting these courageous key workers.
Lifeways, one of the largest supported living providers in the UK, has been routinely underpaying its care workers when they take holiday. According to UK employment law, annual leave should be based on normal pay received, not just basic pay, and this should include additional payments such as sleep-ins and overtime. As a result, some staff are losing out on £100s per year.
The open letter has been signed by a number of councillors in local authorities that commission Lifeways, including Manchester, Lancashire, Liverpool, Bolton, Trafford and Wirral. It includes Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council and Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing at Manchester City Councils, as well as Labour Groups Leaders in Bolton and Lancashire. The letter states:
“Staff employed by Lifeways provide exceptional care to some of our community’s most vulnerable people. They regularly go above and beyond their contracted hours to undertake sleep-ins and work additional hours to support residents. Their passion and dedication has been even more clear during the current COVID-19 crisis.”
Various MPs across the region, including Paula Barker, Kim Johnson, Navendu Mishra and Andrew Gwynne, are also supporting the call for Lifeways to ensure that all staff receive the appropriate uplift in pay as a matter of urgency and guarantee back-pay for all the time they have been underpaid.
Politicians used the open letter to call on Lifeways to treat their staff with dignity and respect, saying: “If Lifeways continue to disrespect its staff, we are concerned that it will lead to increased staff turnover, undermine morale and affect the quality of care given to our vulnerable residents.”
Aggrieved staff at Lifeways have worked with UNISON to lodge a collective grievance calling for the appropriate payment of holiday entitlement. Although care workers wish to resolve this matter quickly via agreement, preparations are now underway to pursue a legal claim if a satisfactory outcome cannot be reached.
Kim Johnson MP supporting Lifeways workers