“If it was up to me, I would pay you more” – a phrase that I have uttered (mostly but not exclusively in my head) many times in my career in social care.
Fast forward 20 years, and now a co-founder of Glassmoon Services my previous words have taken on a whole new meaning.
Colleagues and teams working within the care sector operate in multifunctional and complex roles, the work is meaningful and personally rewarding but also can be physically and emotionally demanding. Often requiring unique attributes and skills that are not often recognised or reflected in the wider sector pay.
In-work poverty rates have risen steadily in recent years – increasing reliance on food banks and pay day loans combined with record levels of personal debt have all contributed to increased financial hardship. The Covid–19 pandemic has increased rates of poverty in the wider population exponentially and compounded the problem for many people and families.
There are many complex causes of in-work poverty, and they are not easily resolved. Type of employment, number of hours, hourly pay, location, gender, ethnicity, age, childcare and transport barriers can all contribute towards or determine a person’s level of poverty, and whether they are able to escape it. There is a strong correlation between poverty and financial inclusion. The Joseph Rowntree foundation estimates that there are 4 million “working poor” in the UK i.e. people in full or part time work who have incomes below the poverty line. The broader care sector is amongst the top five industries that score relative to high in-work poverty rates, with a vast number of employees on minimum wage roles. In-work poverty is estimated to affect around one in six workers.
It is necessary for all employers large or small to be conscious of their wider societal impact when developing their approach to pay and their short, medium and long-term strategies within their organisations.
Fair pay for our colleagues at Glassmoon Services isn’t simply a soundbite or a cost line on a spreadsheet, it is a mindset, a strategy, and an ongoing commitment. At Glassmoon Services we know that few things are as important as how we reward, invest in and support colleagues within our teams. To be valued, and feel valued does not singularly come from pounds and pence on a payslip, it is equally rooted within a person’s day-to-day experience, at both their place of work, and in the wider organisation.
The “why” aspect of our fair pay and financial wellbeing approach is clear and uncomplicated. However, strategy and decision making around pay is never easy or straightforward, nor can be determined in isolation Having a keen eye on the context, cost and impact of any strategy or approach is fundamental to the stability and sustainability of any business. This clarity drives us as individuals and as an organisation to be creative, innovative and flexible in delivering agile and alternative solutions to real and potential challenges whilst always being aligned with our function and purpose.
As an organisation we are incredibly proud that Glassmoon Services has been accredited as a Real Living Wage employer, it reflects our vision, ethos and continued commitment to our colleagues and teams, in the here, now, and the future of our workplace.
And finally….. to the voice in my head at the start of this blog, my response is simple…………..it has been up to us and we chose to pay more!