As part of Ealing Council’s commitment earlier this year, it will be adopting the Real Living Wage (RLW) within the home care sector ahead of schedule.
The uplift to the home care sector will take place in November and bring carer pay into line with the Real Living Wage of £11.05 per hour. This commitment will continue into next year and meet the RLW guidance of £11.95 per hour in May 2023.
In May 2022, the council set out proposals to invest £8million into adult social care, ensuring workers providing care to residents in their own home could finally be paid the RLW.
The RLW is an hourly rate of pay set independently and updated annually with an adjustment for London weighting (it is not the UK government’s National Living Wage). It is not a statutory hourly rate and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK.
Time to fix social care
Council leader Peter Mason said: “Faced with a cost of living crisis, at a time when we need to desperately fix adult social care, we are so pleased to be able to announce that we are putting into action the commitment we made to introduce the real living wage ahead of schedule.
“This will make a huge difference to the pay packets and the wellbeing of care workers, and ultimately to the people they care for, who can be confident that their carers are earning a decent living.”
The council is currently engaged with over 70 home care providers in introducing the RLW for homecare workers who are currently paid below the £11.05 per hour rate. The council will continue engagement to implement the further uplifts ahead of the new financial year in 2023.
To make the changes, £2million of additional funding has been invested into the programme annually. This will be used to pay for the uplift and deliver the support needed to bring the cost-of-carers hourly rate to £11.05 an hour in this financial year.
‘An important step forward’
This move by the council is part of its determination to take an active role in supporting the sustainability of vital care services in a challenging financial climate and at a time of rising need for social care.
Councillor Josh Blacker, the council’s cabinet member for healthy lives, said: “This is an important step forward in fulfilling our pledge to do everything in our power to fix social care, while demonstrating our commitment to valuing the workforce, their contribution and the important work they do.
“Care workers across the borough do difficult jobs in difficult circumstances, and it is only right that when facing a national cost of living crisis, we make this right.”
The RLW changes
The uplift of home care contracts will take place from 14 November onwards. This means home care workers employed by the council will receive a minimum hourly rate of £11.05 per hour, rising to £11.95 from 1 April 2023. This rise is in line with the RLW announcement which took place on 22 September, providing guidance to employers to implement the new rate of £11.95 by 14 May 2023.