SIPTU says employment permits do not resolve retention issues of home care workers
A recent government announcement that 1,000 General Employment permits will be made available for home care workers from January 2023 will not address the core issues of recruitment and retention of carers in the home care sector, according to SIPTU Organiser, Pat Flannery.
He said: “SIPTU members have previously raised concerns following publication of the ‘Report of the Strategic Workforce Advisory Group on Home Carers and Nursing Home Healthcare Assistants’ in September 2022 that the recommendations did not go far enough to address the crisis of staffing within the sector.
“The announcement made on 30th November last by junior minister, Damien English, that work permits will be made available for home care workers from January 2023 shows a lack of imagination in how the Department intends to deal with the shortage of Health Care Assistants in the home care sector.
“Our members are concerned that the disparity in basic pay and in terms and conditions of employment will continue to exist between workers in public and private employments within the home care sector. As a consequence, workers will continue to vote with their feet and go to work in public employments.
“We note that Damien English has said that the permits being made available will be for full-time positions with a minimum salary of €27,000. A Health Care Support Assistant in the HSE can earn up to €38, 290 and has access to far more favourable terms and conditions of employment including premium payments, travel and mileage payments, as well as access to a pension scheme, which is not available to their private sector counterparts in many instances.
“SIPTU is calling on the minister to prioritise addressing poorer working conditions within the private home care sector and for the Union to be represented on the ‘Implementation Group for the Report of the Strategic Workforce Advisory Group’ which has been established by the Department of Health.”