UNISON has welcomed a move by the Labour Party that would close loopholes that enable employers to pay care workers below the minimum wage.
Care workers are earning less than the minimum wage thanks to a technicality that means they are not paid for time travelling between visits, Labour has said.
The party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has demanded a vote on legislation introduced by Labour’s Liverpool MP Paula Barker that would close the loophole, describing the situation as ‘a scandal’.
She said: ‘It is a national disgrace that our care workers are being paid less than the minimum wage, in some cases less than half the legal minimum for 14 hour days.
‘Ministers could end this scandal when Parliament returns next week by passing a very simple Bill.’
This comes after a group of homecare workers employed by contractors for Haringey Council received £10,000 each in September 2020 after a tribunal decided that companies not paying staff for time spent travelling between care visits were breaking the law.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said ending the unscrupulous practices that blight the care sector cannot come soon enough.
‘It’s a national scandal that care workers continue to receive less than the minimum wage. Frontline workers are being exploited and ministers must make time to deal with this immediately.
‘Ending the unscrupulous practices that blight the care sector cannot come soon enough. This includes not only action on low pay, but the use of zero-hours contracts and inadequate sick pay.
‘Labour is right to highlight last year’s important legal victory for homecare workers, backed by UNISON, which found they should be paid for travel time between care visits.
‘The government also needs to be ambitious about desperately needed reform of the sector. Not just remedying the shocking pay and conditions but creating a world-class national care service of which we can all be proud.’
Photo Credit – engin akyurt