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New report shows nearly half of all social care workers are paid below the real Living Wage in England

New report shows nearly half of all social care workers are paid below the real Living Wage in England

close up picture of a leader standing at a podium in a church

A new report by the Living Wage Foundation featuring new analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has found that 400,000 workers in adult social care (43% of social care workers) currently earn below the real Living Wage in England.

New analysis, included in the report, shows it would cost the future government £415 million to pay all adult social care workers in England the real Living Wage. This cost would be offset by the government recouping additional income tax and national insurance through higher wages. The net cost of the wage uplift is therefore estimated to be £330m.

This measure to support fair pay in the social care sector would amount to less than 2% of the social care budget for the coming year.


This report is released as a part of the Citizens UK campaign for the real Living Wage for Social Care.

Elected Metro Mayors Sadiq Khan (London), Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester), Kim McGuinness (North East) and Richard Parker (West Midlands) pledged their support to the Living Wage in social care campaign at Citizens UK Mayoral Assemblies and meetings in April.

Sadiq Khan standing on stage clapping behind a podium which says London Citizens
Sylvie Pope
Sadiq Khan at the Citizens UK London Mayoral Assembly, where he pledged his support to the Living Wage in Social Care campaign

Citizens UK and the Living Wage Foundation have also published an open letter signed by 17 Council Leaders and Cabinet Members for Social Care across England, which urges the next UK Government to ensure all social care workers are paid at least the real Living Wage for all hours worked, including sleep-in shifts and in-work travel time, by putting in place sufficient funding, delivery mechanisms and guidance for Local Authorities.

A 38 Degrees petition has also been launched for the public to sign, which urges everyday people to use their voices to call on the next UK Government and care providers to pay all care workers the real Living Wage. 

The insecurity of hours and low pay associated with domiciliary care work makes it impossible to forecast how much I can expect to earn from one week to the next. My work involves travelling between clients in their own homes and it is very common for that travel time to go unpaid, despite the fact HMRC clearly classes it as legal working time. Since the order and amount of client visits on a given shift regularly change, unpaid travel time is a key reason why domiciliary care work is a particularly unreliable source of income, alongside widespread reliance on zero-hours contracts Founder of the Homecare Workers' Group, domiciliary care worker and Citizens UK community leader

It’s not right that those caring for our loved ones when they need it most are barely surviving because of their low wages. This also has knock-on effects for the sector: staff turnover is high, the quality of care is compromised, and morale is low. It simply can’t continue this way. We urge the next UK Government to ensure all care workers are paid at least the real Living Wage and build on the example set by Scotland and Wales Matthew Bolton, Citizens UK Executive Director

Sign the petition

Hundreds of thousands of social care workers across England are struggling to make ends meet. It was never enough just to clap. All care workers should earn at least the real Living Wage.

Show your support for carers by signing the petition, and help us persuade the next Government to introduce the real Living Wage for social care workers.

Supporting social care workers is one of the most important issues ahead of the General Election and beyond. Find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved.

Posted by Sophie Thomhave-Lee on 12 Jun, 2024

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