Belong increases starting salary to £10 an hour

Dementia care operator Belong has announced that it will pay all 1,100-plus employees a minimum of £10 an hour.

From 1 January 2022, staff of all ages working at its care villages and home care services across the North West and West Midlands will be paid above the real living wage rate of £9.90 an hour on joining the business. This will increase as they progress, according to the seniority and responsibilities of their role.

Belong has paid colleagues the real living wage, which was previously £9.50 an hour throughout the UK and £10.85 in London, for the past five years.

According to the business, the decision to increase minimum pay further from January is part of an investment in employees following a return to pre-Covid-19 (Coronavirus) occupancy levels at its care villages.

Senior leaders said they are keen to ensure those working in the care industry are rewarded for their contribution, above both statutory law and the going rate for the sector.

Chris Hughes, chief finance officer at Belong, commented that the new salary applies to all workers as part of a belief that the rate paid should be determined by the role they are fulfilling rather than their age.

He explained that the organisation’s aim is that all Belong staff can come to work and focus on providing the best support for customers, confident that the wages they take home reflect their hard work and afford them a decent standard of living.

“While we are always looking to do more for our people, we are proud to be paying all employees at or above the real living wage, to be a gold accredited Investor in People and to have recently featured in The Telegraph Workplace of the Year Awards 2021,” Hughes said.

He added that investing in people felt “particularly important” after what had been an “extremely tough” period during the pandemic.