The Fawcett Society is calling for an increase in social care workers’ wages across the board, with the Real Living Wage as a minimum.
According to a survey, conducted by The Fawcett Society, the public overwhelming wants carers to be better paid and better valued, with 72 per cent of people believing that care workers are underpaid. The survey also found that seven in ten people said they supported a rise in income tax to fund a pay rise.
The research comes in the week of the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act 1970, which gave women the legal right to equal pay. Eight out of ten care workers are women, and the sector is characterised by low pay with many paid at just minimum wage levels.
Many low-paid care workers will also be among the 1.2 million women who are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay due to their earnings. The Fawcett Society’s poll shows that the public overwhemingly things that every worker should be able to access sick pay during the pandemic, with 77 per cent agreeing.
The Fawcett Society is now making three calls on the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act for care work to be valued.
The charity is calling for an increase in social care workers’ wages, with the Real Living Wage as a minimum. They are also calling for reform and investment in the social care sector; and improvements to care workers’ terms and conditions, including providing adequate PPE, ending 15-minute visits and zero-hours contracts, pay for travel time and give all workers statutory sick pay.
Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society Chief Executive said, “This crisis has revealed how much we rely on frontline wokers, particularly low paid care workers, yet how poorly they are treated.”
“The truth is Government did not prioritise the care sector at the start and the public are clear on that.”
“This must change.”
“As a minimum it is time to properly protect them, give them decent terms and conditions and start paying them a living wage.”
“Fifty years on from the Equal Pay Act it is time to go to the heart of why women are still undervalued, and that is because we do not value vare work, whether it is paid or unpaid.”
“The Chancellor could give care workers a pay rise tomorrow is he chose to and our poll shows that the wider public, including the vast majority of Conservative voters, would support it.”
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