I was very excited on May 1st, to read that the Welsh Government were planning on rewarding those working in social care with a £500 bonus. This is the very least that such hardworking and patient people deserve. Disabled people throughout Wales would not be able to function without the support of this crucial army of front line workers.
I employ about 8 staff to provide me with the 24/7 support that I need, through the Direct Payment scheme. Straight away, I was wondering if my staff would qualify for such a bonus. There is no doubt that they deserve it. My support workers assist me in every aspect of personal care – such as washing, showering, toileting, dressing, eating and drinking. Without such staff members I would be lost and they help me to achieve so much.
However, four days ago the First Minister further clarified which staff would receive the £500 bonus. I have since been told that only those people on the care register will be eligible for the bonus. I do not think that my staff are registered to this, but this should not mean that they miss out as the work they do is just as dangerous and valued. All personal assistants that are employed through Direct Payments should be granted access to this bonus.
I decided to write about this issue as it is something I believe passionately in, and having received an email this morning from Plaid Cymru. This can be read below. I fully support this petition, but in my opinion it does not go quite far enough to promote the work and sacrifice of domiciliary staff, employed using Direct Payments.
It goes without saying, that unpaid carers – often family members looking after those they love – should also receive this important payment. The same applies to cooks and cleaners who are an important part of any team in a residential setting.
Everyone working in our care sector deserves the government’s £500 bonus.
At the moment, only those on the care register are eligible to receive the £500 bonus payment from our government. Plaid Cymru wants to ensure that all unpaid carers and those not on the care register receive the £500 bonus too.
We therefore call on the Welsh Government to give an equal payment to all staff who work in a care home setting – including cleaners and the catering staff at care homes who put their own safety at risk every day they go to work.
This pandemic has forced us to look at which jobs in our society are essential, and those who look after and support the most vulnerable in our society deserve to be recognised for the incredible contributions they make.
Delyth Jewell MS