Sinn Féin election candidate for Ballymoney Leanne Peacock has called on the Northern Health and Social Care Trust to make sure that homecare workers are paid expenses on time.
Leanne Peacock said that she has been working with local Homecare workers employed by the Trust as they faced a crisis caused by underpayments over the last few days.
Ms Peacock said,
"I was approached by a group of local Homecare Workers who brought to my attention the serious issues that have been leaving them underpaid and without their travel expenses recently.
“These workers provide a valuable resource assisting elderly people in their homes and as a result clock up substantial mileage in their role.
"It is shocking that staff who work tirelessly in the community would have to go without the substantial sum that they are out of pocket in travel expenses incurred as a result of their work.
“Indeed without the reimbursement of travel expenses many homecare workers have feared that they may be unable to carry out their job over the next few weeks as they cannot afford to pay for the fuel required.
"Having pressured the Northern Trust to take urgent action in conjunction with my colleague Daithí McKay MLA I have received assurances that all outstanding travel expenses will be paid by 22nd April.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely. I would encourage any homecare workers who have not received their payments by the 22nd to contact me, or the Sinn Féin Constituency Office in Dunloy, so that we can take further action on the issue.”
North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay added:
"The Trust needs to ensure that this does not happen again.
“Regardless of problems with a new payroll system workers are entitled to their pay and they must be paid in good time.
“We all know the problems and stress that missed standing orders and direct debits can cause, as well as meeting basic household overheads, and the Trust must ensure that staff are not one penny out of pocket."