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Nine in ten private care homes face increased wage bill from April 1

Over nine in ten independent care providers will face an increased wage bill in line with the new National Living Wage (NLW) from April 1, new pay research has revealed.

The social care leadership body estimates that around 94 per cent of adult social care providers in the independent sector paid at least some of their workers below the April 2024 mandatory NLW (£11.44) and would be directly affected by its introduction.

In a new report Pay in the adult social care sector Skills for Care calculates that the median hourly rate for a care worker in the independent sector was £11.00 as at December 2023 (58 pence above the 2023 NLW).

This varies across the regions, with the highest median hourly pay rates recorded in London (£11.31) and the lowest in the West Midlands (£10.80).

The Care Workers’ Charity (CWC) believes a suitable minimum wage for care workers is  £15 per hour. It says the report: “underscores the urgent need for action to ensure that care workers are fairly compensated for their invaluable contributions to our society”.

The report finds that over the nine months to December 2023, the nominal median care worker pay had increased by 8.8 per cent (89 pence per hour) since March 2023, delivering a real terms pay increase  of 63p per hour (6.1 per cent).

According to Skills for Care, recruitment and retention challenges have seen ongoing decreases in the proportion of care workers paid on the “wage floor”, ie, on or within 10p of the NLW). This currently stands at 19 per cent, or almost one in five of all workers.

CWC CEO Karolina Gerlich said: “Care workers deserve a wage that reflects the skills, experience, and immense responsibilities of the role.”

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