New pay and benefits package for Northern Ireland’s Praxis Care staff

A series of measures and benefits for 1,800 employees places Praxis Care among top employers says GMB

By Claire Cartmill
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 6:00 am
Praxis Care workers receive some of the best benefits and measures in the sector
Praxis Care workers receive some of the best benefits and measures in the sector

A series of measures and benefits undertaken by Northern Ireland’s leading social care provider, Praxis Care, for its 1,800 employees has been welcomed by the GMB union.

In recognition of the increasingly challenging labour market and in a bid to attract and retain employees, Praxis Care has introduced a series of measures to support its health and wellbeing strategy which looks to help employees with their physical, mental, financial and social health.

Praxis Care is the island of Ireland’s largest charity provider of care for adults and children affected by mental ill health, learning disability, autism and dementia. The new benefits vary across the four jurisdictions in which Praxis Care’s 1,800 employee workforce operates including Northern Ireland, Ireland, Isle of Man and England.

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The measures also include extending Covid recognition payments to all staff.

While some staff in Northern Ireland qualify for a £500 payment from the Department of Health, Praxis Care has elected to provide the payment to staff in all jurisdictions (£500 for employees working between March 17, 2020 and January 31. 2021 and £200 for people who joined after February 1, 2021).

The introduction of a new rota management and vacant shifts system allows employees to sign up to vacant shifts through an app on their phone. This provides the employee flexibility to decide when they want to work and where they can pick up shifts in other areas where they don’t normally work. A pilot programme in Londonderry to test the app resulted in some interesting results, including decreased reliance on agency workers and a reduction in management time in administering rotas.

Praxis Care is also introducing a wide-ranging series of professional training programmes and qualifications for all grades, death in service benefit at double the salary, a doubling of the cycle to work scheme from £500 to £1,000 (€500 to €1,000 in Ireland) and salary advance software which allows employees to draw down their salary earned that month before payday in the event that they experience unexpected bills.

A new fully funded health care programme will also be introduced to allow employees quick access to diagnostic tests, treatments and complimentary therapies, such as physiotherapy.

In the Republic of Ireland, where Praxis Care employs 600 people, there will be a pay restoration averaging a four per cent in-year increase. Occupational sick pay and enhanced maternity have also been introduced by Praxis Care in Ireland.

In the UK and Isle of Man, Praxis has brought forward the annual pay increment by five months in recognition of the increasing cost of living that their employees and families are experiencing.

A new pension provider has been identified in the UK will improve the provision and add value for employees.

Praxis Care HR and Corporate Services director Aidan Daly says the measures go some way to acknowledge the commitment of employees to the organisation and to the people they care for.

He continued: “We want to acknowledge the sacrifices and dedication of our staff and the immense effort they put into their work to support individuals, directly or indirectly, every day, particularly during the course of the pandemic.

“Praxis Care has put in place improved benefits for staff across all jurisdictions to improve their wellbeing and support them as they undertake some of the most important work in society.”

GMB regional organiser Alan Perry says GMB trade union welcomes the new measures which place Praxis at the forefront of the sector as an employer. He added: “Given the challenges that staff have faced over the past two years working through this pandemic this package of benefits shows a real commitment from Praxis Care to reward employees as well as making it more attractive to recruit new staff.”

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