By Debbie le Quesne

Care providers ‘flouting law on minimum pay’

leave a comment »

Up to half of care providers are not paying the minimum wage, a shocking investigation by tax inspectors has revealed.

I’ve read the news in The Guardian online, but it’s everywhere and the source is no less than Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The investigation found that of the completed 183 investigations, 48 per cent of employers had paid workers below the national minimum wage, set at £6.31 for adults.

The HMRC said it was “the highest level of non-compliance identified in this sector in the last five years.”

I quote: “The main reasons offered by care sector employers for not paying the minimum wage included making illegal deductions such as uniform costs; not paying for time spent training or travelling between care jobs; charges for living accommodation; incorrect hourly pay rates; and incorrect use of apprentice rates.”

Tuesday . . . just getting into my week and I feel depressed by this news.

Interestingly the newspaper reports on a comment by David Norgrove, head of the Low Pay Commission. A month ago he “told the Guardian that cuts in council funding had left rising numbers of care firms with little option but to break the law by paying below the minimum wage.”

Among employers targeted by HMRC, more than half of the law breaking was found among residential care service providers while a third of transgressions took place among homecare providers.

Mike Padgham, the UK Healthcare Association chair, is quoted in the article saying: “It is a disgrace that social care is so poorly funded that employers struggle to keep ahead of the minimum wage.”

With more than 80 employers still under investigation, where are we all heading?

Do I understand why the pay law is broken? Yes. Do I condone it? No.

But life is seldom in primary colours and pledges of punishment do little to correct the underlying problem. No doubt the wrongdoing will see a raft of businesses close, creating more issues for those they care for.

Seems unfair that the service users will get punished too. What a mess.

I am wholly persuaded that until fees paid to providers represent real costs of caring the problem will no really improve. Yes, there are great initiatives on smart thinking and yes, business models have been revised to find savings.

But there is a limit to what my members can do. Perhaps with the latest news acting as a barometer on the industry, we have now reached that point.

Double-shot latte please . . .


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: