• We're currently experiencing technical issues with our newsletter software, so our Dementia Talking Point monthly updates have been put on hold for now. We hope to restart the newsletter soon.

    Find out more >here<.

Care workers are underpaid by £130m a year,

jimbo 111

Registered User
Jan 23, 2009
North Bucks
Care workers are underpaid by £130m a year, according to new study
Research by Resolution Foundation suggests about 160,000 care workers are paid less than the minimum wage

About 160,000 care workers are paid less than the minimum wage, according to research from the Resolution Foundation – meaning that they miss out on £815 a year on average.
The thinktank said the “wage theft” totalled £130m a year and that employers were failing to meet legal requirements to pay employees the minimum wage, and depriving the exchequer of an additional £9m of employer national insurance contributions.
As part of a major investigation into improving pay in social care expected to conclude next month, the thinktank found that thousands of workers were not being paid for all the hours they worked.
It found that some care workers who spent time travelling between clients – many of them making a number of journeys between people every day – were not paid for the period in which they were making necessary journeys for their work.
Other care workers were not being paid during necessary training or when they were “on call”, the report found.
“Every worker has the right to the minimum wage, yet illegal non-payment is all too common in the social care sector. It’s scandalous that these workers, who do such demanding and valuable work, are being cheated out of £130m every year through what is effectively wage theft by their employers,” said Laura Gardiner, senior research and policy analyst at of the Resolution Foundation.
The figure may be higher, according to the thinktank, which did not take into account any illegal pay deductions. The government has taken steps to tackle illegal deductions, but needed to do more in a sector that has long been associated with low pay and poor working conditions, it said.
In January the government “named and shamed” a further 37 employers who failed to pay their workers the minimum wage, as part of a continuing operation. According to HMRC, last year a single social care provider was ordered to repay over £600,000 in arrears of wages to almost 3,000 workers, after it was found not to have paid its staff for travelling time and other hours worked.
Care providers are being put under increasing pressure as social care budgets are slashed and the funding available to local authorities for care contracts shrinks further.
“Diminishing public funding and ever tighter commissioning practices are placing great pressure on care providers, but there is simply no excuse for breaking the law and HMRC urgently needs to get tougher on employers who do so,” said Gardiner.
“It’s welcome that the government has started to draw attention to this issue and beefed up enforcement powers but far more needs to be done given the scale of abuse.”
According to the Resolution Foundation more than four in five care workers are women, two in five staff work part-time, and a growing number are migrants who may be unfamiliar with employment rights.
“Social care will need to fill up to a million additional jobs in the next decade to meet the needs of our ageing population, so tackling the broader issue of low pay in this sector is a real priority,” said Gardiner.
“As well as helping to attract and retain staff and boosting the incomes of low-paid workers, better pay would ultimately lead to improvements in care quality. If we want to see dignity for those receiving care then we need to start investing in the workers who provide it.”
Davina Ludlow, director of Homecare.co.uk, a guide to home care providers, said: “Care workers provide a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
But as the Resolution Foundation’s research confirms, they are amongst the lowest paid. What we need to see is the government addressing the fundamental problem with the way home care is funded, or both carers and individuals will continue to suffer.”