LABOUR’S Angela Rayner has condemned a care firm that ‘fines’ staff on zero hours contracts who miss home visits.
She has called for urgent talks with bosses at MRL Healthcare who run care services for more than 700 pensioners in Tameside, Manchester and Stockport.
Staff with the company, who are on zero hours contracts which Labour will ban, are fined £10 if they miss a care appointment without giving 24 hours notice. They also face £50 fines for missing training sessions!
Angela Rayner said: “It is outrageous that employees are being exploited like this.
“The company say they are fining staff to ensure that pensioners receive care visits – but they should organise the service properly so that cover is available. I am very concerned that a company which is dealing with some of the most vulnerable people in our community can treat its staff like this.
“At times staff have no option but to decline work at short notice if they are sick, their car fails to start or a family emergency happens at home. It's the company’s responsibility to ensure that the correct systems are in place to make sure unexpected absence is covered.“
Angela Rayner has now called for an urgent meeting with the company and Tameside Council to discuss the care contract, including contractual arrangements required to provide cover for visits to pensioners.
She added: “I am appalled that these care staff are on zero hours contracts, which provide no obligation for continuity of care or proper safeguards. I would have hoped that the company would recognise that providing such an important service to vulnerable pensioners, depends on ensuring the loyalty, commitment and decent treatment of staff. Zero hours contracts are certainly not the answer."
Tameside Labour Leader, Kieran Quinn added: “I share Angela’s concerns. On the face of it, the company appears to be fining its workers, rather than getting its own act together first. I want some straight answers about what is going on.”