Cash boost for ‘hard-up’ Ashfield Homes staff

10-2986-1'Ashfield Homes
10-2986-1'Ashfield Homes

LOW-PAID staff at Ashfield Homes are being given a one-off payment of £250 after its board agreed to the measure to reduce ‘economic hardship’.

The move, which was presented and voted through at a board meeting held last week, will see 59 employees who earn less than £21,000 a year before normal pay deductions, receive the £250 ex-gratia payment.

In a statement, Coun Jim Grundy, vice chair of the board, and Steve Houlding, managing director of Ashfield Homes - which manages Ashfield District Council’s housing stock - said: “This one-off payment was agreed having regard to the economic hardship faced by lower-paid employees following a pay freeze for all company employees for a third consecutive year.

“This level of pay initiative had originally been suggested by the Government at the time it announced a three year pay freeze in 2010. Having considered the ongoing economic pressure being placed on low-paid families with rising food and fuel costs, this one-off payment was awarded for the first time this year after lengthy consideration by the company’s board.”

The report presented at the meeting stated that giving the money to the staff who qualify would cost £14,046.

This will be taken from the pay award contingency budget of £31,000, which is not needed due to no annual pay rise being awarded, and so will still generate a saving of £15,954 being returned to the council as surpluses.

Coun Grundy told Chad that the people who will receive the money ‘do an incredibly important job in trying times’.

“We thought it was only fair that, in view of the fact that bills are going up, we try and help as much as we can, low-paid members of staff, who will get a little bit of extra cash,” he said.

“It is not a bonus.”

The statement from the company also said that it will continue to review its employees’ pay, terms and conditions to ensure the services it provides continue to represent good value for money for service users and benefit the economy of the local community as a whole.