Sunday, December 6, 2020

Tens Of Thousands Of Homecare Workers Paid Less Than Minimum Wage

76% of councils are failing to ensure homecare providers pay employees for time spent travelling between appointments.

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Tens of thousands of homecare workers in England and Wales are still being paid less than the minimum wage, according to a recent report from Unison.

Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, show that 76 percent of councils are failing to ensure care providers are paying employees for time spent travelling between appointments.

Unison says this effectively means that more than three-quarters of councils are in breach of the Care Act, which clearly states that homecare workers must be paid for the time they spend on the road.

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The UK Homecare Association estimates that homecare workers spend 20 percent of each working day travelling between appointments.

According to the report – Calling Time on Illegal Wages in the Homecare Sector – care workers in Wales are fairing the worst, where more than nine in ten care workers are not being fairly renumerated.

The findings represent a very small improvement on 2014, when between 160,000 and 220,000 homecare workers were paid below the minimum wage, but doesn’t escape the reality that many councils and homecare providers remain in breach of legal legislation.

Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “It’s a scandal that more than 200,000 care workers are receiving illegal wages of less than £6.70. More councils might now be insisting that homecare contracts ensure payment for travel time, but there’s still too many that don’t.

“This shows just how little local authorities value care staff who do such a vital job looking after the elderly and disabled. Councils shouldn’t be awarding contracts to firms without ensuring they’re prepared to pay travel time.

“And the government should be putting more resources into a social care system that is already at crisis point.

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“The law makes it absolutely clear that staff must be paid for any time spent travelling to and from the homes of the people they care for.

“The government and councils must act now to put a stop to the shocking treatment of this dedicated and hardworking group of employees.”


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5 COMMENTS

  1. Try getting the council to pay the agencies for this…not gonna happen.
    Try getting the council to stop the auction style bidding for contracts… not gonna happen.
    Try getting the council to actually choose quality care over cheaper costs… not gonna happen.
    As a private agency, we have zero control over our prices, we put a price in for a package and a larger / cheaper company gets it… we can only pay our staff what we get paid ourselves… the council wont pay for travel…where are we to find this extra money? And the new pension scheme will probably close us down.

    • Also, for those people who wish to have the right of choice, and pick a company, they only get the direct payment amount, which is meant to go straight to the carer but isnt enough to cover fuel, training , crb and liability insurance… this rate is £11.73, recently increased from £9 odd… holiday pay? nope…sick pay? nope. so this carer has a client… 4 times a day? 7 days a week? who does the calls when you want a holiday? how much back office paperwork do the service user need to do just to have a carer?
      Whats happened now ? people know care work isnt worth the pay, we haven’t enough carers in our city, so people who require care are waiting or being refused. We get offers everyday but cant find the staff… catch 22 right there… we need staff, and need to bid for single care packages…come have a job…but wait until we get the work in for you… which could be weeks if we keep getting out bid. I’d like to give pay rises over min wage, we cant. Our hands are tied and until our government releases an appropriate amount of money into the sector, the situation is just going to get worse.

  2. OFTEN CARERS HAVE TO DO SEVERAL JOBS AMOUNTING TO OVER 60 HRS A WEEK JUST TO KEEP THEIR HEADS ABOVE WATER A NATIONAL SCANDAL LETS NOT PRETEND THE TORY REBRANDING OF THE MINIMUM WAGE BAND ADDING A FEW SHEKELS PRODUCES A A REAL LIVING WAGE IT DOES NOT COME CLOSE

  3. As a recipient of Home Care I hear this regularly. Depending on the client there is a minimal scope for saving a set amount of time on each visit which can then breach the gap.However giving that where I live the main road is the second most congested road outside london time is very quickly eaten up. My council will not cover the gap in between calls on the basis that they can’t afford it. Nor can the agencies who have contracts from the council. What is really upsetting is that council can afford unnecessary things but no the grass route hands on care.

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