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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Minimum Wage for Care Workers

What is it about care work that means minimum wage?   

Living Wage for Care Staff Campaign

Care workers are the front-line staff in all care settings. They work with all types of people who need care and support, who receive direct care. 

On average a Care Worker will receive 4-hours training, usually “on the job”, but they are expected to do a variety of duties that are not limited to:
**responsible for the individuals' overall comfort and wellbeing and help people who need care and support to live as independently as possible
**assisting and enabling
**washing and dressing
**taking food and refreshment
**bed making
**providing interest and activities to stimulate and engage the service user
**monitoring individuals’ conditions by taking temperature, pulse, respiration and weight
contributing to record keeping

Their work is defined by a care plan, which is usually developed by a social worker or care manager to meet the assessed needs of the person requiring care or support. 

The care worker needs a variety of different skills, together these are known as core skills.
**Everyone working in adult social care needs English, number, digital and employability skills (including team work, problem solving, planning your ongoing learning and development and managing your own health and wellbeing.).
**Different roles require a different level of skill. Here are a few examples of the core skills you might need as an ancillary worker.
**Speaking skills to communicate with someone you are supporting
**Writing skills to fill in a care plan
**Number skills to calculate body mass index (BMI)
**Time management skills to prioritise workload
**Team working skills to put together a care package for someone

Yet constantly and consistently, Care Workers are under-trained, unappreciated and the “scapegoat” when things go wrong.  They receive the brunt of abuse from terrified relatives and service users, with very little support from Management.

Yet, we understand from a letter written to the chancellor by the UK’s five biggest providers of care – that the introduction of a minimum wage of £7.20 an hour from April this year, rising to £9 by 2020 for workers aged over 25 in the UK, could cost the care sector £1bn by 2020.  The letter goes on to explain that staffing accounts for 60% of the cost of care and if these costs to the employer increase, then many homes will be forced to close, resulting in pressure on the NHS to provide care for the elderly.

The CQC’s Jo Govett has spoken about what care homes can do to ensure they are providing high quality care, with specific reference to CQC requirements in a bid to allay any fears of the living wage for the Care Providers.  But no one has looked at the bigger picture.

Are our Care Staff not worth the investment?

Are our Care Staff not worth the extra pay?

Are our elderly not worth the investment of better standards of care?

It absolutely appals me that the biggest concern about the introduction of the Living Wage was profit.  And in a bid to get legal agreement to not pay Care Staff the living wage they resort was to threaten our already underfunded NHS.

However, an interesting comment recently made showed that if the care providers invested in their care staff and if they promoted better standards of care rather than giving it 'lip-service', would more people then in fact use their services which would in turn provide an increase in income?

We need to prevent this from happening, we need to stop Care Providers from being profit first, quality last and we must stop this before it gets deeper into the Care Crisis.
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