TUC calls on government to prevent care workers being illegally paid

04 February 2015

One hundred MPs have signed an Early Day Motion saying they “strenuously suggest that HMRC launch a programme of proactive investigations into the sector to help end non-compliance with the NMW".

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says that care workers looking after the most vulnerable people in the UK – the elderly and the disabled - are being illegally paid below the national minimum wage of £6.50 an hour. And that according to the National Audit Office a staggering 220,000 care workers are being exploited in this way.

This is in part because, whilst the advertised rate may be above the minimum wage, most care workers are on zero hours or temporary agency contracts, with the employers cutting out paid time wherever they can. A full day on the job can translate into only a handful of paid hours.

In 2011 and 2013 HMRC investigated the care sector and found that only half of care providers were paying the national minimum wage. Thanks to their investigation several companies were forced to pay care workers the money that they were legally owed.

Now, because of the on going cuts to care budgets and a lack of follow up action from HMRC, the situation has become worse and now nearly a quarter of a million care workers across the UK are being illegally paid. This practice is hurting people who need care.

Vince Cable could make a difference. Mr Cable could instruct HMRC to investigate again, to name and shame some of the biggest care providers in the country but so far he hasn’t.

One way employers under-pay home care workers is by only paying them for the time they spend caring for people in their own homes. This means the time they spend traveling between visits is unpaid.

Read the full article.