Welford Healthcare to pay care staff above real living wage

Changes to wage regulations that are set to come into force in April

Care provider Welford Healthcare is increasing its wages to above the real living wage for its care staff.

The move, which applies across all seven of the group’s care homes, has been made to reward staff and to attract new workers.

The increase will see some care workers receive up to a 12.2% pay rise, with all carers being paid a minimum of £10.00 per hour rising to up to £10.90 in some settings.

‘Our care team, like all social care staff across the UK, have put themselves in harm’s way to deliver care to some of the most vulnerable people in our society over the past two years of this pandemic. Paying them above the real living wage is the least we can do to reward them for the care, compassion, and resilience they have displayed,’ said Will Neal, Welford Healthcare managing director.

‘It is time for social care staff to be treated with the same respect that is shown to our wonderful NHS staff. Social care staff are just as important to our society – doing a job that is skilled, and which is vital to the health and wellbeing of this country.’

He said the government needed to do more to support the social care sector, firstly by changing the way it treats the workforce. ‘Classifying care staff as “unskilled” does them, and the whole sector a disservice. It puts people off taking up a rewarding and fulfilling career in which they can flourish, and it downplays the training and hard work that our social care staff undertake,’ he said.

On Monday, the real living wage rose to £9.90 across UK and £11.05 in London.

Unlike the government minimum wage, the real living wage is calculated based on rising living costs – including fuel, energy, rent and food. The national living wage (for over 23s) is £8.91 rising to £9.50 in April.

Katherine Chapman, Living Wage Foundation director, said: ‘For the past 20 years the living wage movement has shaped the debate on low pay, showing what is possible when responsible employers step up and provide a wage that delivers dignity.

‘Despite this, there are still millions trapped in working poverty, struggling to keep their heads above water – and these are people working in jobs that kept society going during the pandemic like social care workers and cleaners. We know that the living wage is good for businesses as well as workers, and as we rebuild our economy post pandemic, the real living wage must be at its heart.’