Giving Care Workers a fair deal

I want care workers to be paid the Real Living Wage and to get a better deal on travel pay and overnight care work. I have submitted a motion to the next meeting of Norfolk County Council that calls for care providers to declare whether they pay the Real Living Wage to their staff. It would be the first step towards the Council signing up in full to a charter giving care workers a better deal on pay.

Care workers have been on the front line of the battle against Coronavirus. It should be beyond question that they get paid a fair rate for the incredible work they do.

Most care work is purchased by the County Council or direct by those needing care from private sector suppliers. Contracts with the council don’t currently insist that firms pay staff the Real Living Wage – which is higher than the Statutory Minimum Wage.

The Living Wage Foundation says workers need to earn at least £9.50 an hour to get by. That’s the least we can do to support care workers. I know budgets are tight at the County Council so my motion first calls for firms to declare whether they pay the Living Wage. That way people can choose to support providers that do so. But that’s just a first step towards a better deal for care workers. If 2020 has taught us anything it should have taught us the true value of care work.

The text of the motion to be debated at the Full Council meeting on 23rd November is:

Council notes the immense challenges faced by care workers in providing essential support to some of Norfolk’s most vulnerable residents during the Coronavirus Pandemic and it thanks them for their hard work, bravery and compassion. To ensure that care workers are properly rewarded for the work they do, Council resolves to:

  • Require that providers declare whether they pay the Real Living Wage to their staff; their policy on pay for travel time and supply of equipment; and their policy on pay for over-night care as part of their application for inclusion in the Council’s Framework of providers. The Council will publish this information so that those purchasing care can take these factors into account when deciding on which organisations to commission
  • Require officers to present a paper to the People and Communities Committee setting out a path towards signing up to Unison’s Ethical Care Charter. If the costs involved in doing so exceed the Council’s ability to fund the commitment, Council pledges to campaign actively for the Government for the increased funding needed, creating a level playing field and the highest standards possible for Adult Social Care

You can find more information about the Real Living Wage here:

And more about Unison’s campaign here: