The Living Wage Foundation has today launched a Social Care Toolkit, providing guidance for adult social care providers and local authorities commissioning care who wish to pay their workers the real Living Wage.
Adult social care is one of the lowest paying sectors in the UK. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of care workers in England are paid below the real Living Wage, a figure which represents over 600,000 jobs. Despite the Government’s recent commitment to provide additional funding to the sector, no plans have yet been announced for better pay for care workers. COVID-19 has highlighted the vital importance of the social care sector, with care workers supporting the most at-risk individuals in society throughout the crisis at great personal risk. Care workers make up a high percentage of the 1.3 million key workers earning below the Living Wage, earning just £8.50 per hour on average.
The Social Care Toolkit draws evidence from research conducted by Middlesex University Business School. It sets out the key challenges in social care and arguments for implementing the real Living Wage. The toolkit also outlines the Living Wage accreditation process and shares best practices from care providers and local authorities implementing the real Living Wage in social care. In doing so it sets out a path to the Living Wage in social care, as the sector looks to recover from the effects of the pandemic and attract and retain staff to meet the growing demand for care from Britain’s ageing population.
Graham Griffiths, Interim Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said:
“Care workers need a real Living Wage. The pandemic shone a light on the essential work done by those who care for us and our loved ones. These are people who have put their own lives at risk to look after our parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends through COVID-19. It cannot be right that care workers are rewarded with pay that all too often fails to meet their everyday needs.”
“This Social Care Toolkit will give adult social care providers and local authorities commissioning care the tools they need to do what’s right for care workers and provide a real Living Wage. We look forward to working with them on their journey to join the Living Wage movement.”
Nick Pennell, Finance Director of Borough Care, said:
“The care sector has faced unprecedented strain over the past 18 months, and it’s never been more difficult to attract good people. As a not-for-profit care home operator, it’s important to Borough Care that we offer our employees the real Living Wage, plus a package of rewards, and a voice in what happens in the workplace. For the sector to offer the best care possible to vulnerable people, it’s vital that this begins with treating employees well.”