Home care workers

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2014 National Women's Conference
17 October 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference congratulates the local government service group on the work they are doing to improve working conditions for home care workers, and the production of the Ethical Care Charter.

The issues facing these workers are well recognised – low pay, unpaid hours, unpaid travel time, unpaid sickness absence, unrealistic mileage rates, short client visits etc. The ethical care charter seeks to address these on behalf of care workers, the vast majority of whom are women.

The charter also seeks to address the issue of the use of zero hours contracts, which are increasingly being used in the public sector and in home care in particular. The use of such contracts hides the true women’s unemployment figure in the UK, which is currently at a 25 year high.

The impact on women’s incomes is stark – zero hours contracts provide no guaranteed income, making household budgeting – primarily carried out by women – impossible to manage; benefit entitlements may be confused; and employers abuse such contracts to impose poorer working conditions for staff who are afraid to complain for fear of losing hours.

Additionally women with childcare or other dependant commitments struggle to manage that care, and family life is disrupted.

Conference calls upon the national women’s committee to work with the local government service group to promote the Ethical Care Charter, and to work with all appropriate departments and partner organisations to raise awareness of the damaging impact of both poor conditions for home care workers and zero hours contracts.