The National Living Wage Change: What Does It Mean for Care Workers?

Starting from April the 1st  2018 the National Living Wage was increased from £7.50 to £7.83 for those over the age of 25. As a result of this many have had their wages increased to meet this, however it depends on a number of factors. The increase amounts to more than £600 per year for full time workers on basic pay.

What is the National Living Wage?

The National Living Wage used to be known as the National Minimum Wage but it was rebranded in 2016. The change to this means that employers are legally required to pay employees over the age of 25 a minimum of £7.83 per hour.

What is the National Minimum Wage?

The National Minimum Wage still applies for workers under the age of 24. Wages for those aged 21—24 went up from £7.05 to £7.38 from April 1st 2018. The wage increased from £5.60 to £5.90 for 18 to 20 year olds, and from £4.05 to £4.20 for those under 18. Apprenticeship wages for those under the age of 19 increased from £3.50 to £3.70.

What is the Real National Living Wage?

Many find that the wage increase is insufficient to meet the cost of living in the UK. The Living Wage Foundation states that the Real Living Wage is £8.75 across the UK and £10.20 in London. This is higher than the mandatory minimum set by the government but the foundation are encouraging employers to meet this figure they believe to be the true living wage in the UK. The foundation also believes this should be paid from 18 upwards, rather than a lower rate being paid for those under 25.

Employers are beginning to understand the high value good carers lend to organisations and as a result of this, and increased demand for the role, many employers in care are beginning to pay increased rates to their staff. Find employers paying the Real National Living Wage by searching here. 

What does this mean for Care Workers?

Pay within the Care industry has been hotly debated, particularly after a tribunal against Mencap last year declared that sleep in shifts were to be paid at the same rate as the minimum wage leading to the sector to owe carers millions in backdated pay.

Care work is often identified as a high-risk sector for non-payment so ensure that you’re being properly paid for the time that you are working. You can use the GOV.UK calculator for the National Minimum and Living Wages.

If you feel that your employer is not paying you the correct wage set the first stage is to bring it up with your employer, if they don’t take action to correct this then you can make a compliant to HMRC here.

What does this mean for Live-In Carers?

When accommodation is provided the minimum wage is calculated using an offset rate depending on whether the accommodation is offered for free or for a fee. The daily accommodation offset rate increased from £6.40 to £7, the weekly rate from £44.80 to £49. For example, you may be paid  £6.50 per hour for 30 hours a week but offered free accommodation but the offset rate of £49 per week for accommodation would bring up your wage to above the National Living Wage as £49 + (£6.50 x 30) = £244 and £244÷ 30 = £8.15.

No other kind of company benefit (such as food, a car, childcare vouchers) counts towards the minimum wage. For more information visit the GOV.UK section for wage and accommodation.

If you’re looking for a new role in care, search opportunities near you at CareRecruiter.co.uk.

7 Comments

  • Paula mcgrath 12 months ago

    My company want to give us a pay rise to 8.60 but so it should b this rate 8.75 sleeps paid at 40.00 do we av a case we r meeting union friday

  • Hannah 12 months ago

    Hi Paula, the minimum wage your employer can pay is £7.83 for those over the age of 25. Employers are now required to pay at least the minimum wage for sleep in shifts. However, I believe that if your hourly wage averages out to at least the minimum wage over the course of your entire shift, with the flat rate of £40 and any payment before that, employers are paying within the legal requirement.

    You can check the GOV.UK calculator to see if you’re being paid the National Living Wage here https://www.gov.uk/am-i-getting-minimum-wage.

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