The Trades Union Congress today called for a national minimum wage of £6 an hour, a move which would benefit many low-paid social care staff.
In evidence to the Low Pay Commission, which advises the government on the minimum wage, it advocated a rise from the current level of £5.52 an hour. The TUC also wants the rate to apply to employees over 18, not 22 as at present, and tougher action against non-compliant employers.
Evidence from the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care, the workforce database being compiled by Skills for Care, showed the median wage for care workers in England, was £5.87 an hour, as of April this year. A fifth of staff in this entry-level role earned £5.35 an hour or less.
However, independent sector social care employers have traditionally been opposed to large hikes in the minimum wage because they argue local authority fees are already insufficient to meet their costs.