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Council makes Real Living Wage commitment for all care workers

Written by on 8th October 2021

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet has agreed to ensure all of its contracted adult independent social care workers, as well as all direct payment recipients, will be paid at least the Real Living Wage by December this year.

At their meeting on Monday, October 4, Cabinet Members agreed with the recommendations of a report, to help independent sector social care providers in Rhondda Cynon Taf access Welsh Government funding that is available to provide the Real Living Wage. This will apply to care workers in older people residential and nursing care, supported living, extra care and home care, as well as all direct payment personal assistants providing care and support.

The Real Living Wage is based on the cost of living, and is annually updated. Currently standing at £9.50 per hour, the wage is voluntarily paid by hundreds of employers in Wales and thousands across the UK. The Council already provides the Real Living Wage to in-house social care workers, and this was also previously extended to include domiciliary care in the independent sector.

Cabinet made its decision during Monday’s meeting – to further extend the Real Living Wage to all social care workers – in recognition of the sustained pressures on domiciliary services, residential care and nursing care. These pressures have been highlighted and further added to by the pandemic.

Ensuring an appropriate minimum level of pay is vital to support essential care workers. Welsh Government has provided additional £40m in resources to support social services in 2021/22, through the Social Care Recovery Fund.

Following Cabinet’s decision, the Council has now formally committed to supporting independent sector social care providers to access this funding for care workers from December 2021. The Council will seek an assurance from Welsh Government that the sustainable funding will be provided for subsequent years.

Councillor Geraint Hopkins, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “I’m sure the recommendations of the Cabinet report, as well as the subsequent agreement by Members, will be absolutely welcomed by everyone. The Council has now formally committed its support to all contracted adult social care workers and personal assistants receiving direct payment in Rhondda Cynon Taf to receive at least the Real Living Wage.

“The Council already pays the Real Living Wage in-house, which was agreed and implemented four years ago – while around two years ago this was extended to the independent homecare sector. Monday’s decision expands this to the full and final step for all commissioned care workers, which is the right thing to do to recognise their invaluable work in our local communities.

“Even before the pandemic it was recognised that there was a high demand on services, and increased complexity in the needs of those who require care and support. The situation has been made even more acute and challenging since the pandemic began in March 2020, but relying on the dedication of all care workers – both domiciliary and in residential settings – our social care system has been able to continue during these times of intense pressure.

“I’m delighted that Cabinet’s decision today will ensure that those care workers currently not in receipt of the Real Living Wage will now do so by December this year – which will not only help those individuals receive what they deserve, but also encourage more people to join the industry.”