Petition Number: P-06-1301

Petition title: Reconsider the exclusion to care home staff receiving the additional payment for social care workers

 

Text of petition:

The Welsh government is currently accepting applications for an Additional social care payment aligned to the Real Living Wage (a taxable payment of £1,498) claiming that: "The additional payment demonstrates our commitment to improve the status, terms and conditions and career pathways for social care workers."

We feel that by excluding all other essential care home roles, they have devalued our contribution, and are neglecting these essential care providers that Care Managers agree are vital!

This payment will only be paid to eligible 'care workers, senior care staff, care managers and nurses' and specifically excludes colleagues in the same home who are in roles such as catering, cleaning and maintenance staff, finance officers, therapists, business support, trainers, reception staff and activity coordinators.

As my Care home manager said: "If I don't have people cooking food in the kitchen how will I feed the residents?"
Care work is renowned for being poorly paid so most people who do it, do it for the love and compassion of the people they care for. Whilst recognition for these fantastic roles is long overdue it is vastly unfair to single one role over another in a Care home setting.

Please help support our care home staff!


1.        Background

The Welsh Government announced the social care additional payment aligned to the real living wage in February 2022, and published further guidance on the eligibility criteria in March (which was last updated in September).

This “uplift to the real living wage” applied to all those eligible for the real living wage: registered workers in care homes and domiciliary care, in adults and children’s services; Personal Assistants who are funded through a Direct Payment; and senior care staff and managers in care homes and domiciliary care. The Welsh Government said the payment would be made to approximately 53,000 social care workers across Wales.

The guidance stated that most people would receive the payment in June 2022, and the scheme closed to all new claims on 30 June.

According to the guidance, job roles not eligible for the payment include:

Other care home and residential family centre staff not subject to a requirement to be registered with Social Care Wales or the Nursing and Midwifery Council. For example, catering, cleaning and maintenance staff, finance officers, therapists, business support, trainers, reception staff and activity co-ordinators.

When the scheme was announced in February, Care Forum Wales expressed concerns in the media about some ancillary staff – such as cooks, care support workers and cleaners - missing out, and called for everyone working in the care sector to receive payment.

The Welsh Government noted that two previous schemes in 2020 and 2021 made recognition payments to reward the efforts of all social care staff during the Covid pandemic.  It said this additional payment is different, as “it is specifically aligned to the introduction of the real living wage and forms part of our commitment to future improvements in professional development for registered care staff in care homes and domiciliary care”.

 

 

2.     Welsh Government response

The Deputy Minister for Social Services said she appreciates the disappointment felt by the petitioner and other care home staff who are not included in this, and stressed that she’s aware that cleaning staff, catering staff, and other ancillary staff provide valuable support to staff and residents in care homes.

The Deputy Minister said ancillary staff rightly benefitted from two previous schemes in 2020 and 2021, which made payments of £500 and £735, to recognise and reward staff during the Covid pandemic. She stressed that this additional payment scheme “is markedly different”, as it is specifically aligned with the introduction of the Real Living Wage for social care workers.

Ancillary staff in care homes are not included in the introduction of the Real Living Wage. The Deputy Minister stated:

While ancillary staff such as cooks and cleaners in care homes work in the social care sector and provide essential support that helps maintain the quality of provision,  they are not expected to deliver personal care services and are not required to register as social care professionals with Social Care Wales. This is why ancillary staff are not within the scope of this particular initiative. This is not intended to devalue the valuable contribution ancillary staff make.

 

Every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this briefing is correct at the time of publication. Readers should be aware that these briefings are not necessarily updated or otherwise amended to reflect subsequent changes.