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Care workers are paid £8K less than NHS equivalents, calculates new report

Care workers earn almost £8,000 less than their NHS exact equivalents. Without action, it will take an entire generation to achieve equal pay, according to new report

Unfair To Care – 2022/23 published by social care charity Community Integrated Care measures the skill, complexity, and accountability of frontline support worker positions in social care and identifies the salaries and benefits of counterpart positions in other sectors.

It reveals that social care workers would need a 41 per cent pay rise – equalling £8,036 – to have parity with their direct equivalents within the NHS – Band 3 Healthcare Assistants. It demonstrates that modern frontline social care requires complex technical and emotional skills, to effectively support people who commonly have complex medical and behavioural needs.

Based on current rates it will take more than 23 years to arrive at equal pay, the report warns, without taking into account NHS entitlements, including sick pay and pension benefits.

Unviable local authority contracts are blamed for the wage disparity, and many care provider CEOs predict many contracts will be abandoned as a result.  

Unfair To Care calls upon the Government to apply the NHS Agenda for Change pay band system to social care, a focus on career progression, the introduction of professional registration, campaigns to raise the esteem of the sector, investment in mental health support, and wellbeing strategies.

Teresa Exelby, chief people officer at Community Integrated Care, says: “165,000 vacancies significantly impacts the quality of life of people who should, rightly, expect reliable support built upon consistent relationships. For too long, consecutive governments have exploited the goodwill of people who have a vocation for care.”  

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