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The National Living Wage

The National Living Wage can benefit both the individual staff member and the organisation

1

The National Living Wage

The National Living Wage can benefit both the individual staff member and the organisation

The National Living Wage was brought into effect from the 1st April 2016 and raised the recommended wage for workers aged over 25 years to £7.20 an hour. In the UK, the legal minimum wage supports all workers over this age in being able to earn an appropriate amount, but the National Living Wage enables people to earn a decent amount in order to live their lives to ‘acceptable’ standards.

 

Social care has been a sector that traditionally has paid poorly. It often involves unsociable hours, working with and supporting challenging behaviours, caring for those who need more help with being able to live their life to the fullest - for very low pay. The care sector itself has been underfunded for many years and local authorities and trusts have struggled to pay social care providers, the fees that should reflect improving and quality care. As fees are cut to balance the books so-as-to-speak, the wages paid to healthcare workers by social care providers therefore have been historically low, causing a retention loss of staff and a lack of consistent recruitment of qualified staff.

 

Although paying the national living wage will therefore be a challenge to many providers, there are a number of positive outcomes which can benefit any organisation. In a sector where compassion and dedication is a necessary employability component, the difference in the amount paid to a member of staff per hour, can mean that the sector could attract more healthcare workers who are qualified or have aspirations to make care their career choice. Therefore, recruiting a higher calibre of applicants with the right attitude to vacancies, is an increased possibility and could reduce the amount of agency staff (who are more expensive to employ). The sector is always under close scrutiny for its quality of provision and safeguarding, and a staff which consists of more capable, motivated workers can support organisations in meeting the minimum care standards and other legislation.   

 

As always, there are implications which will affect employers and organisations in terms of costs and a reducing lack of funding, but it is important to consider the following - if the healthcare worker’s role is central to the quality of care being provided, the right level of applicants will only be attracted to the sector if the pay reflects the work being undertaken. Therefore, the National Living Wage benefits the individual staff member as well as the organisation.

Blog

If the healthcare worker’s role is central to the quality of care being provided, the right level of applicants will only be attracted to the sector if the pay reflects the work being undertaken. 

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