UNISON urges government to ‘back up words with actions’ over illegal wages in home care

UNISON is urging the Government to follow its words with actions following Care Minister Norman Lamb’s request this morning that HMRC carry out a new set of investigations into illegal wages in the homecare sector.

The call from the Care Minister came during today’s Care Workers Debate in Westminster which focussed on the endemic problem of homecare workers being paid below the National Minimum Wage.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:

“A crackdown on the scandal of homecare staff being paid illegal wages is long overdue.

“UNISON is giving its evidence to the Low Pay Commission tomorrow and will be calling on HMRC and the Government to bring forward a package of measures to ensure that this abuse can be stamped out immediately.

“Councils and homecare providers must be held to account and should named and shamed if they are found to be paying illegal wages to homecare staff.”

The debate follows a UNISON Freedom of Information request to all councils in England and Wales, released last week, that revealed the shocking statistic that 93% of councils don’t make it a contractual condition for homecare providers to pay care workers for travel time. Of the 98% of councils that responded, 79% admitted that they have never asked to see pay records or other written evidence about the pay of care workers employed by care providers they commission, in order to check National Minimum Wage compliance.

It is estimated that up to 220,000 care workers across the UK earn less than the minimum wage.