Will the rest of the UK now implement a key tribunal ruling and follow suit?
Five years ago, an tribunal ruled that care workers who have to stay at clients’ houses to be on call should be paid a minimum wage. Five years on, the government have still not obeyed the tribunal ruling and told care companies to pay up.
Instead (as we reported) ‘thousands of workers continue to receive a flat rate of £2.50-£3.50 an hour for sleep-ins, while the Tories maintain an ‘amnesty’ for the thousands of employers who owe their staff higher wages and back pay’.
And just last month, the government announced another suspension of its obligation to enforce the minimum wage in social care.
Today however, the Scottish government has done what the Conservatives won’t – and announced all care workers will get their fair pay for having to be at their place of work.
Care workers will now be paid the real Living Wage of £8.45 for sleepover hours, meaning the Living Wage will now be received for all hours worked.
Care workers in Scotland have received the Living Wage for non-sleepover hours since October last year.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said:
“This will make a real difference to those whose hard work enables thousands of people across Scotland to live with dignity.
“The change will take place during 2018/19. This will provide time for it to be implemented in a way which will ensure continuity of care to individuals.
“The Scottish Government has worked closely with health and social care partnerships, care providers, trade unions, individuals using services and other stakeholders and will continue this engagement as partners begin to redesign sleepover provision.”
Around 40,000 care workers in Scotland are expected to benefit from the changes.
When asked whether the Welsh Government would be doing the same, a government spokesperson said:
“We recognise the pressures that our social care sector faces and we prioritise social care as a sector of national strategic importance. This commitment is underpinned by £55 million of additional funding in 2017-18.
“That includes £19 million of recurrent funding for local authorities to work with their social care service providers to manage the impact of the National Living Wage. One of the specified purposes this funding can be used for is the payment of the National Living Wage in relation to sleep-in cover.”
We’ll see whether the Conservatives at Westminster follow Scotland’s suit.
Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.