Carewatch acts to cut losses from staff loans
Caring Times, March 2014
A Shropshire care firm has signed up to a payroll savings scheme after losing about £1,500 in unpaid loans to staff. Bosses at Carewatch (Mid Shropshire), based at Stafford Park, Telford, said they needed to devise a way of giving an advance to staff because of the demand.
Managing director Steve Harris said he wanted to help his employees manage their money more and the FAIRshare Credit Union seemed the best way. He said: “We have been operating for more than 14 years and over the years I have happily given staff an advance on their wages for things like when their car breaks down, Christmas presents, or it could even be £30 for a tank of petrol when it gets to the end of the month.
“I would say about one third of staff approach us for an advance on their wages each year. We have always provided the loans on faith but twice in the last two years people have started to pay us back and then left the company, without any contact details, so we cannot chase them for it. Once it was about £500 and once about £900.”
But Mr Harris said it was not just the bad experiences that meant he wanted to create a new system. He added: “By joining the FAIRshare payroll savings scheme, our employees can save on a regular basis and access low cost loans, it acts like a bank for them.
“We don’t want them to go to loan sharks like the ones that have been in the news recently, where you borrow £100 but end up paying back about £800. And we didn’t want to be in the position where we couldn’t offer anything.
“This way it could be a couple of pounds each month that they put away and hopefully it can help them manage their money better instead of living hand to mouth.”
The scheme is free for all staff to join and offers a system where part of their pay, however much they chose, is automatically put into the savings account each month. Andrea Broady, marketing and business development officer at FAIRshare Credit Union, said the scheme is becoming increasingly popular. She said: “We are a not-for-profit community bank and this scheme gives those who save on a regular basis access to low cost affordable loans.
“Membership of FAIRshare is open to anyone who lives, works or studies in Shropshire or those that work for a Shropshire based company.
“We have payroll saving set up with a number of Shropshire companies including Telford College of Arts and Technology and the Wrekin Housing Trust.
“We are really pleased that Carewatch (Mid Shropshire) is offering payroll savings to their staff and hope it will be a benefit to everyone involved. She added: “Since the Archbishop of Canterbury called for action against pay day loan companies we have definitely seen an increased awareness of Credit Unions and the valuable services they offer.”
FAIRshare is Shropshire’s largest credit union and has almost 5,000 members, including the Right Reverend Mark Rylands, the Bishop of Shrewsbury. As part of the scheme savers can access their money at any time. Carewatch (Mid Shropshire) has 75 carers offering 24-hour care, adult care, care for children, live-in carers, personal care and risk assessments in the home.