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05 / Low pay

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

On recognising the highly-skilled nature of good home care, it is shocking that this is one of the lowest paying roles in society, with levels of remuneration summed up in one study as "poverty pay" (Hussein, 2017, p.1817).

“there is a wealth of publicly available evidence that hundreds of thousands of homecare workers are paid so little that their wages do not meet the minimum amount required under national minimum wage law. The workforce is predominantly engaged by private-sector employers and is subject to contracts that offer no guarantee of regular hours and make wages insecure; earnings are irregular, as well as insufficient to meet basic economic needs” (Hayes, 2017, p.5)
“the LTC (long-term care) sector was, and remains, one of the lowest paying sectors in the UK with continued concerns over compliance with payment of the NMW” (Hussein, 2017, p.1818)
“Social care workers were unequivocal about why the sector is so short-staffed despite the many positives of the job: low pay relative to the skills required. And the figures bear this out. Median hourly pay among frontline care workers stood at £10.90 in April 2022, well below the economy-wide average of £14.47 and less than rates offered in low paid jobs in offices, call centres, transport, and nursing assistants in the public sector” (Cominetti, 2023, p.3-4)
“Low pay is a significant factor undermining the resilience of the social care workforce” (Health and Social Care Committee, 2020, p.19)
“Acknowledging the very low pay margins, some employers gave examples of non- monetary “rewards” they offer workers; having said this, the majority of such rewards were the legal responsibility of employers to pay for, such as uniforms, lockers’ keys and other items essential for the work" (Hussein, 2017, p.1822)

As a bare minimum, home care workers should always be paid a real living wage for the entirety of their working time, not just for contact-time with clients.

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