Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) are calling on the Government to urgently address stark pay inequalities faced by care workers, as new analysis shows the scale of unfair and unequal pay.
Care workers are a lifeline for many disabled people, enabling people with often high-level and complex needs to live full and independent lives.
Yet the report – prepared by VODG member Community Integrated Care in partnership with Korn Ferry – has found that care workers earn almost £8000 less than their NHS exact equivalents. Without action, the report has calculated it would take an entire generation to achieve equal pay, during which time the social care staffing crisis will continue to escalate.
The new analysis arrives amidst chronic and widespread staff shortages in the social care sector, exacerbated by an unprecedented 52% increase in vacancies this year alone. The report lays bare the challenges of care providers constantly firefighting to deliver support whilst facing around 165,000 vacancies nationally. The reality of care workers being underpaid for their crucial work have hugely significant knock-on effects for disabled people who face gaps in their support as a result.
Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive, VODG said:
“Social care is all about people. Care workers provide support that enables disabled people to live full and independent lives, and provide an essential lifeline for so many people and their families every day.
“It is unacceptable that care workers continue to face unequal and unfair pay. At a human level, it is wrong, and at a strategic level, it is wrong. It is simply impossible to achieve good recruitment and retention in a sector where care workers will be effectively working for free for the last three and a half months of 2022, in comparison to their NHS equivalents.
“As we face a cost-of-living crisis – where domestic prices have more than doubled and food prices have increased by more than 13% – care workers cannot afford to be underpaid. Nor should they be. The chronic staffing shortages in social care will continue to escalate until the Government takes action to address the root cause of the problem – unfair and unequal pay.
“We warmly welcome this report – the recommendations contained within it are right and they are achievable. We call on the Government to take action now to bring this situation to an urgent resolution.”