Kirk leaders have called on the Scottish Government and local authorities to increase the value of social care contracts to enable them to pay all staff the £7.85 per hour living wage.
Sally Bonnar, convener of the Church of Scotland’s social care council which trades under the name CrossReach and runs 22 care homes across Scotland, claimed people could earn more stacking supermarket shelves than working in the sector.
“We pay slightly over the £6.50 per hour minimum wage at the moment and are working towards achieving the living wage,” she added.
“We have been making progress this year and there is some funding coming to us which will allow us to address the lowest pay and the minimum wage we will pay ancillary staff from October 1 will be £7 per hour.
“A total of 70% of our funding comes from local authority and health board contracts so we are dependent on the level of funding they put in their contracts to allow us to pay our own staff.
“We would encourage the Scottish Government and local authorities to continue to try and find ways to provide sufficient funding so the living wage can be provided for everyone.”
Ms Bonnar said staff, who work with the most vulnerable people in society such as drug addicts, the disabled and elderly, did a “very difficult and challenging” job and should be adequately re-numerated.
“People can earn more money stacking shelves in supermarkets than some staff in the care sector,” she added.
“Many people do these jobs not because of money but because they enjoy it, value it and want to give something back to the community.
“But that does not mean they should not be properly rewarded for it.”
CrossReach, which provides 70 social care services, claim that staff turnover was low despite low wages because of the organisation’s work ethos.