Figures on home care pay trigger shock and dismay

UNISON is shocked and dismayed after a revelation that 19% of councils in England do not know whether the homecare providers they commission pay their staff the national minimum wage.

Even more concerning, only 5% of councils were confident that their providers paid staff properly for their travel time – even though this is one of the main reasons why around 200,000 care workers get less than the national minimum wage.

The figures emerged in a recent survey of directors of adult social services by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

The figures illustrate how homecare workers across England are being exploited on a massive scale and call into question the decision by councils to outsource such a vital service, says the union

“UNISON has consistently highlighted how such widespread non-compliance with the national minimum wage hurts both homecare workers and the people they care for,” adds head of local government Heather Wakefield.

“It causes poverty for the worker and is a major reason why staff turnover in the sector is so high. This hurts continuity of care, which is of vital importance to care users.

“The inability of so many councils to ensure that the homecare providers they commission are not breaking the law and exploiting these important workers is staggering. We urge them to work together with UNISON to stamp out this poor practice through adopting our Ethical Care Charter. This would end exploitation and improve care standards.”

The full survey results

UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter [PDF]

UNISON in local government

Key issue: homecare