Thanks to everyone who helped by signing this petition. We got some good news coverage as a result of the petition, and representing your concerns to Ministers, we managed to get progress in inspecting the biggest agencies. However there's a lot more to do in the care sector, and we're moving the campaign on: Help us Save Care Now at http://www.savecarenow.org.uk
To: Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Vince Cable: Catch the criminal care employers and end the scandal of illegally paid care workers
Thanks for your help. We got good news coverage from the petition and showing it to Ministers helped make progress in inspecting the biggest agencies, but there is a lot more to do in social care. Please help and stay involved at http://www.savecarenow.org.uk
We, the undersigned, believe it is a scandal that so many of those who care for the most vulnerable people in the UK are not paid the national minimum wage. We demand the Secretary of State instructs HMRC to investigate the illegal under-payment of 220,000 care workers.
Why is this important?
220,000 care workers are illegally under-paid.
Care workers looking after the most vulnerable people in the UK - elderly and disabled people - are being illegally paid below the national minimum wage of £6.50 an hour. According to the National Audit Office 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.
Vince Cable could make a difference.
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 ongoing cuts to care budgets and a lack of follow up action from HMRC the situation has become worse and now 220,000 care workers across the UK are being illegally paid.
Vince 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.
This practice is hurting people who need care.
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.
Sadly many care workers are also not given enough time to care for people with dignity.
This puts care workers in an agonising position because they know they are being taken advantage of and are losing money they need for their own families, but they care deeply about the people they work with.
This sometimes puts care workers under pressure to leave their visits early to avoid having their wages pulled down. Whereas others regularly stay longer and work for free to just make sure the person gets the care they need and deserve.
Many good care workers get fed up with the situation and find other work, and the high turnover means a lack of continuity of care.
This is a recognised problem, yet Vince Cable still refuses to act.
The Public Accounts Committee looked at the issue in the summer and said, “We are astonished that up to 220,000 care workers earn less than minimum wage and seemingly little has been done to rectify this”.
100 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"
Even the Department of Health has requested that HMRC investigate again. In a Parliamentary debate in November Minister for Care Norman Lamb said “I repeat that I have requested that that themed work should start again. As he will understand, I do not have responsibility for HMRC. However, I have made that request and I will continue to push for that themed work to happen.”
Please sign now
Vince Cable talks a lot about transparency and fair pay – so why isn’t he investigating the illegal payment of care workers?
We believe he hasn’t acted because there hasn’t been pressure from the public.
Now is the time to change that.
This is about looking after the vulnerable people in our society, and paying people legally and fairly. If you know someone who needs care, or are concerned about what’s happening to the most vulnerable and elderly people in our communities who need care please sign the petition.