UKHCA

United Kingdom Homecare Association
The professional association for homecare providers

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UKHCA Media Release

Estimation of minimum wage underpayment in social care services - 09/02/2015

Responding to interim estimations of underpayment of the National Minimum Wage in the social care sector by the Resolution Foundation, United Kingdom Homecare Association notes the following:

The front-line social care workforce undertakes exceptionally valuable work, which is often undervalued by society, and operates in an increasingly underfunded care system. The obligation to pay the minimum wage rests with employers, who must comply with the law.

Residential and homecare services operate in a market with dominant purchasers, largely local councils, who face unprecedented spending constraints. Downward pressure on the prices paid for social care services and the effect on a low-paid workforce has been subject to repeated warnings from the Low Pay Commission.

While the Resolution Foundation's estimates of the size of underpayment to affected workers are significantly higher than those found in practice by HM Revenue and Customs, their calculations add to the growing concerns over a sector struggling to offer appropriate terms and conditions to front-line workers (see note 1).

HMRC have a responsibility to investigate and, where appropriate, take action against employers which do not pay National Minimum Wage. However, we repeat our calls for commissioners to take the actual costs of care services into account when letting contracts to the independent and voluntary sector, and for government to ensure independent oversight of the practices of social care commissioners.

Ends.

Notes for editors

  1. In November 2013 HMRC published the results of 224 investigations into alleged non-compliance with payment of National Minimum Wage. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-minimum-wage-compliance-in-the-social-care-sector. A comparison between compliance between the homecare and residential sectors is summarised in the following infographic: www.ukhca.co.uk/pdfs/nmw_infographic_20131125.1.gif 
  2. United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) is the professional association for more than 2,200 domiciliary care providers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  3. UKHCA’s mission, as a member-led professional association, is to promote high quality, sustainable care services so that people can continue to live at home and in their local community. We do this by campaigning, and through leadership and support to social care providers.
  4. UKHCA has a vetting procedure for its members, all of whom agree to abide by the Association’s Code of Practice, which can be found at www.ukhca.co.uk/codeofpractice.aspx.
  5. There are over 9,100 registered homecare providers across the UK, the majority of which (84%) are in the independent and voluntary sectors. We estimate that these organisations employ over 438,000 homecare workers, who deliver over 6.29 million hours of care per week to around 536,000 service users, valued at £5.2 billion per annum.
  6. Homecare encompasses provision of personal care, to people in their own homes. For many, homecare is the alternative of choice for people who would otherwise need to move into residential accommodation.
  7. The majority of homecare is funded by the state (usually by local council social services departments, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), or Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland). However, homecare services are largely delivered by independent and voluntary sector providers working under contracts with the statutory sector.
  8. Regularly updated statistical information about homecare services in all four UK administrations is available from "An Overview of the UK Domiciliary Care Sector" at www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?id=109.
  9. Interviewees from UKHCA for broadcast media are available on request.
  10. For further information please contact:

Colin Angel, Policy and Campaigns Director
United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd
Sutton Business Centre, Restmor Way, Wallington, SM6 7AH

Telephone: 020 8661 8188
Mobile: 07920 788993
E-mail: media@ukhca.co.uk
Website: www.ukhca.co.uk

Registered in England, No. 3083104.

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