Improving pay and work conditions in social care, particularly for ethnic minority workers are among the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
In a new report, Experiences from health and social care: the treatment of lower-paid ethnic minority workers, the EHRC finds that there is a lack of robust workforce data on lower-paid ethnic minority workers In social care there are also problems including the following:
- Fewer training opportunities and lack of representation in senior roles
- Greater use of zero-hours contracts
- Low awareness of employment rights
- Unclear payslips and language barriers
- Fear of, and obstacles to, raising concerns.
As well as improving pay, social care employers are urged by the EHRC to:
- make diversity and inclusion a priority – meet the Public Sector Equality Duty in a way that is evidence-based and transparent
- develop accessible ways for workers to raise concerns and access redress if they believe they have experienced discrimination
- improve management of workforce complaints, including relating to bullying and harassment on the grounds of race
For the industry as a whole, there are recommendations to improve data collection and regulate to address inequality issues.
Commenting on the findings of the report, EHRC chair Baroness Kishwer Falkner said: “We must ensure that the working conditions of lower-paid workers in this sector are improved across Britain, and that their vital contribution to the functioning of our economy and society is recognised.”
The Care Workers’ Charity added: “For too long poor practices in adult social care have been allowed to continue largely unchecked. Only if all parts of the system accept their role in promoting equality do we stand a chance of addressing the systemic racism and discrimination highlighted by the EHRC.”