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National Living Wage: A positive for the Care sectors?

Vetro Recruitment National Minimum Wage Orig 2

Charlotte Pearson national living wage

National Living Wage: A positive for the Care sectors?

So here we are in April and the National Living Wage is here, it’s real and it’s now law. You can find out if you are eligible by completing the calculator here.

In terms of the figures, what does this actually look like? All workers aged 25 and over are now legally entitled to at least £7.83 per hour, a rise of 33p and the Government have committed to increasing this every year.

The Prime Minister has vowed to give those employers who fail to pay the new rate severe penalties of up to £20,000 and has placed this new wage at the centre of his “one nation” agenda. It certainly seems that this is being taken very seriously.

What do you think?

If you are an employer in the Health and Social Care sector you might be starting to feel the financial pressure of these changes. Whilst this might be great news for employees, like with most things there is a potential downside and losers as well as winners. Financial forecasters are predicting that employers will have to cut back on the numbers they are recruiting which long term could have a negative impact on the jobs market.

As an employer have you had to start cutting hours and benefits packages to help pay for these changes in other ways? It seems that the Government are not going to tolerate changes like these and are stating that there are “no excuses” for responding in such a way.

What is the reality though? How is this working day-to-day? Although it is early days, as employers are you seeing complications of the National Living Wage develop already?

In many areas of employment, it seems that employers are already having to try and offset the costs of the new National Living wage by clawing back the spending elsewhere. In jobs across the country, workers are losing paid breaks, overtime and other ‘perks’ as employers try to balance the books on the back of the latest budget.

The Government standpoint seems to be that employers are not entering into the ‘spirit’ of the National Living Wage but surely they would have known that businesses would adopt the approach of making cuts elsewhere to fund this new law? 

Is this about wanting to ‘help’ and support people on a lower wage or just about generating more taxable income?

These changes might be also regarded as great news for low paid workers, at least those over 25 of course, as it will mean a pay rise of about £13 per week.

Do you work in the Health and Social Care sectors? Have you noticed a difference in pay or equally any cuts in benefits? Do you regard the National Living Wage as a positive or negative law overall?

The reality is that in the Health and Social Care sector, many of the people on a low wage are those we rely on to be hands-on with clients in a supportive role. From what service users have told me over the years, these are the people that have often made the biggest difference in their lives and helped them the most. The key to improving outcomes for families can often be found in finding the right match of worker to make a difference. We want to be able to ensure these jobs still exist but equally, surely we want those people providing care and support to feel valued and be rewarded for the work they do on the frontline, work that is often difficult and stressful and work that requires both physical and emotional resilience.

However, by forcing employers to pay more in an already fragile and stretched sector, will this have a negative impact on the level of care that can actually be offered and afforded? Social Care has always been an underfunded and undervalued service which I personally struggle to get my head around, but how will these changes help those in need of support?

With the NHS under such pressure perhaps merging health and social care funding and aligning services is the way forward?

Does the National Living wage affect you directly? Perhaps it also affects clients you work with? Do you support this new law?

There is no doubt in my mind that proposing and then passing any new law must be a huge headache for those involved. Whilst many people will no doubt support this new law, many will consider it to have a negative impact on care, business, and things like the availability of overtime. 

How do we recognise and reward employees without causing a negative impact at the same time?

Where do you stand?