10% Pay Rise Due To Thousands Of Carers This Month

This month, the pay floor will rise from £10.42 to £11.44 – meaning a 10% pay rise for thousands of carers currently on the national minimum wage. The NLW will also be applied to staff aged 21 and 22, raising their wage floor from the national minimum wage (NMW), which is currently worth £10.18 an hour.

From the beginning of April 2024, thousands of care workers in the UK will see a 10% increase in their wages as the National Living Wage rises to £11.44 per hour. This uplift, significantly above the current inflation rate, will provide a substantial financial boost to many in the sector, particularly after a period of real-terms pay cuts.

 However, there is concern regarding whether local councils and NHS commissioners can fund this increase adequately, given existing budget constraints. The pay rise aims to improve the living standards of care workers, but raises questions about the sustainability of funding within the care sector and its impact on service provision.

Who Will These Changes Affect?

As of March 2023, it was estimated that approximately 140,000 care workers in the independent sector in England (17% of the total), were earning the current national minimum wage of £9.50, according to Skills for Care’s latest report on the workforce.

This data would suggest that a similar number of care staff will receive the full 10% increase this April, which carers will be pleased to hear is well above the current annual inflation rate of 4.6%.

For full-time workers, the pay increase could be worth £1,800 a year in cash terms. Additionally, many more care staff earning between £10.42 and £11.43 will also receive a significant pay rise on the back of this year’s NLW increase.

Criticism Over Lack Of Resources 

While the move will positively impact thousands of carers across the UK, it’s not come without criticism. The increase to £11.44 per hour also raises concerns about the financial implications for local authorities and NHS commissioners responsible for funding these wage hikes. 

The scenario underscores a broader conversation about the sustainability of care provision, the necessity of fair compensation for care workers, and the potential challenges in maintaining quality care services amidst financial constraints.

 This adjustment in wages is a crucial step towards recognizing the contributions of care workers, yet it prompts a broader dialogue on funding models and the future landscape of care services in the UK.  The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said the extra resources were welcome, but insufficient.

Joint chief executive Cathie Williams said: “Extra funding from the government this year to help recruit and retain social care staff has been welcome, but as a result of high levels of inflation and increasing need, this report shows it’s not enough to solve the fundamental problem that we don’t have the resources in adult social care to provide competitive pay and conditions to the 1.5 million people working in care in England, supporting older and disabled people stay independent and do things that matter to them.

And that means it’s difficult to recruit and retain staff, with 152,000 job vacancies in care, over half a million hours of homecare were not able to be delivered to older and disabled people last year due to not having enough staff.”

Higher pay in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Care workers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in publicly commissioned services are currently paid a minimum wage of £10.90 an hour.

This minimum wage is currently set by the campaign group, the Living Wage Foundation, which is voluntary and is based on the cost of living.

In October 2023, the foundation increased the UK RLW to £12 an hour.