As many will be aware, there is a staffing crisis in the health and social care sector. Up until recently, it has been mostly NHS doctors who have been striking, largely over pay issues, in an attempt urge the Government to act and inject more funding into the healthcare sector.
It appears that the social care sector has now followed suit in their ‘Fair Pay for Carers Campaign’ and are calling for:
- Sector-specific minimum wages to accurately reflect the skill level of and emotional tax on care workers;
- Travel time to be included in home care workers payslips;
- Legislative protection for informal employment agreements of personal assistants in care so that they receive fair minimum wages, holiday allowance and notice periods; and
- The Government to finally take the staffing crisis seriously due to the negative impact it is having on safety across the care sector.
This comes after the care workforce shrank for the first time in 2022 and vacancies are skyrocketing. Much of this is due to the lack of investment and financial incentive for people to enter into the sector, being paid right on the cusp of minimum wage, with some potentially earning below that level.
According to Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, “As well as having an unsustainable number of vacancies, which is putting even more pressure on existing colleagues, we also have high levels of turnover in the sector, which is a symptom of underfunding and the lack of a workforce strategy.” He has called for a clear skills and competency framework that is underpinned by transferable qualifications and designated career pathways that don’t seem to currently exist for care workers. He argues that this is in fact a skilled job and need to be recognised as such by the Government.
This will be no easy task, but hopefully the added pressure will prompt the Government to take action and seek a sustainable solution to the workforce crisis.