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Petition Create an Emergency Carers Support Fund to increase care worker wages

The Government should support the 1.6 million care workers who, like me, are caring for our most vulnerable during COVID-19, by immediately creating a £3.9billion Emergency Carers Support Fund so we all receive at least the Living Wage Foundation’s recommended hourly rate of £9.50 (£10.85 London).

More details

Up to three quarters of care workers earn less than the Real Living Wage, a quarter are on zero-hours contracts and tens of thousands are still not paid for all the hours they work.

Along with the cross party, cross sector Future Social Care Coalition I believe it is time for a fair deal for social care workers. This is the first time that employers, unions and charities as well as those using care services have come together along with five former Health Ministers to speak with one voice.

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Government responded

This response was given on 2 March 2021

We are immensely proud of our care workers and recognise their commitment. Whilst the government does not set pay for care workers, we have taken steps to support them financially during the pandemic.

Read the response in full

The Government recognises that the social care workforce has more than ever demonstrated unwavering compassion and dedication throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We are proud of and immensely grateful to them for their ongoing work. We want to celebrate their work and give them the acknowledgement and appreciation that they deserve.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay, independent of central government. Local authorities, as commissioners of adult social care, were given market shaping duties by the Care Act 2014 and must work with care providers to determine a fair rate of pay based on their local market.

Whilst the Government does not set levels of pay for care workers, we are committed to putting the social care sector on a sustainable footing, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. All social care workers are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage or national living wage for the work that they do. Since the introduction of the National Living Wage in 2016, care worker pay has increased at a faster rate than before. All time spent caring for clients, travelling between appointments, and waiting to start the appointment must be included in the pay calculation. (Further guidance on what counts as working time is available here: https://www.gov.uk/minimum-wage-different-types-work.) Further, we have given councils access to an additional £1 billion of funding for adult social care. This funding is designed to ensure key pressures in the system are met, including National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage. An increase in the rate of the National Living Wage means many of the lowest paid care workers will benefit from at least a 2.2% pay rise next year.

Through the pandemic we have also taken steps to support care workers financially. We have now ring-fenced over £1.1 billion through our Infection Control Fund to support adult social care providers. The Infection Control Fund is to be used on measures such as helping maintain the normal wages of staff who may need to self-isolate. This is in addition to £4.6 billion we have now made available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic.

We are incredibly proud of all our health and care staff, and recognise their extraordinary commitment - working day and night putting our care and safety at the centre of everything they do. Beyond pay, we are developing further activity to enable the public, businesses and services to show their appreciation for social care workers, just as they do for our valued NHS colleagues.

Given the above, and the initiatives that the Government have already established to support the sector in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic we are not currently have plans to establish the fund that is suggested.

Department of Health and Social Care

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/561831)

At 100,000 signatures...

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

Other parliamentary business

MPs to debate social reform and the social care workforce

MPs will debate social reform and the social care workforce on Thursday 18 March in Westminster Hall.

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will start at 1.30pm and last up to an hour and a half.

Watch the debate: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/15ba1f80-ba6e-49c7-9977-b71152db410d

You'll be able to read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it happens: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-03-18

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/

Original Government response

We are immensely proud of all our care workers do and recognise their commitment. Since the introduction of the National Living Wage, care worker pay has risen at a faster rate than before.

The Government recognises that the social care workforce has more than ever demonstrated unwavering compassion and dedication throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We are proud of and immensely grateful to them for their ongoing work. We want to celebrate their work and give them the acknowledgement and appreciation that they deserve.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay, independent of central government. Local authorities, as commissioners of adult social care, were given market shaping duties by the Care Act 2014 and must work with care providers to determine a fair rate of pay based on their local market.

Whilst the Government does not set levels of pay for care workers, we are committed to putting the social care sector on a sustainable footing, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. All social care workers are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage or national living wage for the work that they do. Since the introduction of the National Living Wage in 2016, care worker pay has increased at a faster rate than before. All time spent caring for clients, travelling between appointments, and waiting to start the appointment must be included in the pay calculation. (Further guidance on what counts as working time is available here: https://www.gov.uk/minimum-wage-different-types-work.) Further, we have given councils access to an additional £1 billion of funding for adult social care. This funding is designed to ensure key pressures in the system are met, including National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage. An increase in the rate of the National Living Wage means many of the lowest paid care workers will benefit from at least a 2.2% pay rise next year.

Through the pandemic we have also taken steps to support care workers financially during the pandemic. We have now ring-fenced over £1.1 billion through our Infection Control Fund to support adult social care providers. The Infection Control Fund is to be used on measures such as helping maintain the normal wages of staff who may need to self-isolate. This is in addition to £4.6 billion we have now made available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic.

We are incredibly proud of all our health and care staff, and recognise their extraordinary commitment - working day and night putting our care and safety at the centre of everything they do. Beyond pay, we are developing further activity to enable the public, businesses and services to show their appreciation for social care workers, just as they do for our valued NHS colleagues.

Department of Health and Social Care

This response was given on 25 January 2021. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.

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