Paid care workers to get improvements to pay and conditions thanks to pledge
March 11, 2021
Home care workers in Powys will see an improvement to their pay and conditions thanks to an agreement between Powys County Council and home care agencies operating in the county.
The Powys Pledge is a three year programme to develop the home care (or domiciliary care) sector in the county. Each week, the council commissions more than 10,000 hours of home care from provider agencies to help residents to continue to live independently at home. The sector has been instrumental in supporting people before, and throughout, the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year will see an extra £1.50 added to the average hourly rate paid to care agencies which sign up to the Bronze level of the Powys Pledge for existing packages of care and support. To meet this standard, agencies will have to promise that:
- All care workers, regardless of age, to be paid at least the National Living Wage (NLW) (currently £8.72 but rising to £8.91 per hour from April, for workers over 23 years);
- The employer covers the cost of the care workers' Social Care Wales annual registration fee (currently £25);
- Paid travel time at the NLW as a minimum to be scheduled between all calls. Contact calls cannot be back-to-back. Travel time to the first call and from the last call may be excluded from travel time claims, where shifts are a minimum of 6 hours each.
- When a care call has been cancelled without sufficient notice and the council has therefore paid for the call, care workers need to be paid for this.
- Care workers to receive two days off a week, unless fewer days off are specifically requested by a care worker.
The agreement, negotiated between the various parties over recent months, will be funded by the council's Cabinet agreeing to an extra £1.9m for the Adult Social Care budget.
Councillor Myfanwy Alexander is the council's Cabinet Member with responsibility for Adult Social Care. She explained: "We value carers and these changes reflect this. We want to promote a stable and successful private care sector in Powys and the Powys Pledge will give the sector the incentive to develop packages which recognize the vital role of care staff, improving their benefits and opportunities.'
Alison Bulman is the council's Corporate Director with responsibility for social care. She commented: "I'm delighted that the council has been able to introduce this extra funding to improve working conditions for home care workers. As someone who started my career as a carer I am keen to see recognition for the role that Social Care plays in our society. The last 12 months have really shown how important care workers are, helping those of our family, friends and neighbours who just need support to enable them to continue living independently at home."
"This isn't the end of it though; as the Bronze Level implies, there are Silver and Gold levels to the Powys Pledge too and we will be working with home care agencies over the next two years to introduce further improvements for care workers."