A pair of Wellingborough workers who were twice not paid carried on with their duties because they felt they had no alternative.
Jean Posnar and Pauline Parkin were employed by Leicester-based English Rose Care Ltd, which had an office in Silver Street, Wellingborough.
Employed from November 2015, Jean worked as a domiciliary care worker for clients across the area including in Irchester, Rushden, Irthlingborough and Bozeat.
She made four visits a day to help with personal care such as dressing, bathing, food preparation, personal hygiene, making drinks and giving medicines.
Jean was joined on her rounds by Pauline when she too was employed by English Rose Care Ltd, on a zero-hours contract, as a driver for Jean and other colleagues.
Pauline was given the contract in February 2019 but had to wait to start work until April 2019 for her DBS clearance to come through.
Working as a team, Pauline drove Jean and three other carers to appointments, picking up and dropping off as necessary.
To fit into the carers’ schedule, Pauline was working very long hours, starting as early as 5am and often getting home at about 9pm.
Jean said: “When I first joined the company everything was fine. I got on with my work visiting clients and helping them with whatever they needed.
“I’d visit four times a day; first at breakfast, then mid morning, back for teatime and then last thing at night.”
The first indication that there might have been a problem was when they were paid late in May 2019.
Business director Tendai Zveushe reassured employees that the late wage payments would be paid and not to worry.
Jean said: “He would say we would be paid on such-and-such a date so we just thought he was busy.”
The workers’ last payment into their accounts was on Friday, May 31, 2019.
Pauline said: “Around that time I noticed that the company name on the payslips had changed. I used to run a business so I noticed this immediately.
“The name was now ‘The Care Alliance’.”
Both Jean and Pauline received no pay into their bank accounts on June 14 and again June 28.
Pauline said: “We kept phoning the office to see where our money was and to see what was going on.”
An email to Pauline said: “Dear Colleague, We would like to inform you that the company has been undergoing some necessary changes, as some of you may know we have now changed the company to The Care Alliance Ltd.
“Unfortunately due to the above changes, the payroll has not yet been processed and we are looking at finalising next week.
“Payslips and payment of wages will be made to everyone by Friday, 21st June 2019.
“We apologise for the inconvenience this had caused in regards to payments not being made on time but we can ensure you that all wages will be made next week.”
In a follow-up email The Care Alliance then said: “Dear Colleague, we apologise for the continued delays in regards to payments being made, in particular the payroll.
“Unfortunately the Local Authorities and CCG have taken a while to set up our new account for The Care Alliance.
“We would like to inform you that we have now received confirmation that payments will be processed next week on Monday, therefore payment of wages will be made to everyone on Wednesday, 1st July.”
“We truly apologise for all the inconvenience this has caused to everyone...In future we will communicate any issues with you in advance as we know the lack of communication has caused many problems.”
In a letter dated July 4th 2019, colleagues were again given an apology for the “continued delay in the payment of your wages” and more assurances that workers “will not suffer any losses in earnings”.
Finally, in a letter dated Tuesday, July 10, employees were informed that their wages “after a consultation meeting at the Wellingborough office” attended by “most office staff, Team leaders and senior staff from all service areas” that salaries would be paid monthly and consequently would not be sent through until the end of the month (Wednesday, July 31).
Despite not being paid Jean and Pauline carried on caring for their clients as usual.
It was while on a regular house call that Pauline and Jean met employees of a rival care company who were in the house to assess the needs of their client.
The replacement workers said they had heard Pauline and Jean’s employers had gone out of business and they would be taking over caring for the client.
Jean said: “I’m owed a month’s wage which is just over £1,000.
“I’m a widow and I can’t afford to go without that money. I have to pay my rent and all my bills.
“I am angry that we worked for nothing but it never came into my mind to not care for our clients.
“They depended on us - who would get them breakfast, who would care for them?
“They wouldn’t have been able to do anything without us - they relied on us because there was nobody else to do it.”
Pauline says she is owed £2,432 before deductions for the 256.15 hours she clocked up in May.
She said: “We carried on working. At first we didn’t know we were working for nothing.
“We rang each other to check if anyone had been paid.
“I was furious. If I want to work for charity then I would do it from my heart.”
English Rose Care Ltd (09098543) was registered with Companies House in June 2014, at an address in Evington Road, Leicester.
First inspected in 2016 by the CQC with a ‘Good’ Rating, by the time in April 2018 the company was re-inspected, the rating had changed to ‘Requires Improvement’.
Areas of concern were under the headings ‘Safe’, ‘Effective’, ‘Responsive’, and ‘Well-led’ both requiring improvement - only ‘Caring’ received a Good rating.
A spokesman for the CQC said: “We understand that English Rose Care is in liquidation and the company applied to cancel its registration with CQC on June 13.
“CQC’s registration team are in the process of cancelling this registration at the moment.
“The Care Alliance was registered with CQC as a provider on May 20.
“We understand that English Rose Care’s staff will transfer to the Care Alliance under TUPE, and this means people will continue to receive care that was commissioned.
A spokesman for the Northamptonshire clinical commissioning groups (NHS Corby CCG and NHS Nene CCG) said: “In June 2019 we received a request to transfer the contract held by English Rose Care Ltd to the Care Alliance Ltd, following English Rose Care Ltd’s decision to appoint liquidators and wind up the company.
“Procurement regulations state contracts can only be transferred between companies if there are listed directors in common.
“As there are no listed directors in common, the CCGs had no other choice but to serve notice on the contract.
“We are awaiting instructions from the liquidators about how to pay outstanding monies for English Rose Care Ltd.
“All invoices for Care Alliance Ltd were settled in July 2019.”
Tendai Zveushe, director of English Rose Care, said: “When the company went into liquidation, we wanted to retain the employees and the work.
“We had a duty of care to our clients so we carried on looking after our clients but the commissioning groups refused to transfer the contract.
“We have not been paid for the work but as soon as we have been paid we can pay our employees - it’s a cash flow problem.”
A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “English Rose Care are due to be paid for work from May 20 up to the end of June.
“The company went into liquidation on May 19 and the clients were moved to other providers at the end of June.
“We were not informed of the liquidation – as the company was contractually obliged to do - and this has caused a delay in payments.
“The county council has no contract with The Care Alliance and has no clients with them.”