Union rages at £50 attendance bonus

Union leaders say a scheme to give social work staff a cash bonus if they take no sick days is a “joke” and a “gimmick”.

West Dunbartonshire Council’s plan to pay workers 50 if they have a 100 per cent attendance record in the year to 30 November 2006 is “so poor it’s unlikely to work”, according to Tom Morrison, Unison’s deputy service condition officer at the Scottish council.

“People are angry because this puts out the message ‘we don’t believe you’ [if you are ill],” he said. “Others think it’s a bit of a joke – the council was considering doing a draw for a car.”

West Dunbartonshire said the move was part of a strategy to “maximise employee attendance”. Its social work department had an absence rate of 8.1 per cent in 2004-5, higher than others and equivalent to nearly 23,000 lost working days.

Stephen Smellie, Unison Scotland’s social work convener, warned that the move discriminated against staff with health and disability problems and could backfire on the council.

“Gimmicks like this won’t make people less ill,” he said. “Job pressures, high vacancy rates and overwork are the reasons behind higher illness rates in the sector and we need to address these with more staff support.

“This could encourage people to come in when they are ill, passing on their germs and not being able to perform properly.”

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.