Call to fund winter bonus for care workers

November 16, 2021

Care leaders are calling on the Government to award and fund a £1,000 winter bonus for social care workers in England.

The call for the £1,000 winter bonus is being made by ADASS (the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services), in response to reports from directors across England of care services struggling or breaking down because of staff shortages.

ADASS said the winter bonus would recognise the loyalty and dedication of care workers through the COVID-19 pandemic and would help stem the loss of skilled and experienced staff to other types of work. According to reports by ADASS, there are 1.5 million jobs in social care in England, but at least 105,000 of them are vacant. ADASS claims the cost of a one-off £1,000 bonus therefore be about £1.4bn gross, but the Treasury would recoup tax and national insurance.

Care workers will be paying the new health and social care levy taking effect next April – a cost of about £140 a year – but social care will receive £5.4bn of the £36bn that the levy will raise over its first three years.

Stephen Chandler, ADASS president, said, ‘Paying a £1,000 bonus to care workers over the winter would show that we prize their skills and dedication as a society. It would send a strong signal to people that care work is a career that is respected and is going to be properly rewarded in future. Unlike their counterparts in the rest of the UK, care workers in England have not been paid any government bonus for working through the pandemic.’

In the longer term, ADASS wants to see a minimum social care wage that is above the national living wage, has parity with NHS pay and clear progression and development.

Care workers in both Scotland and Northern Ireland have been awarded a £500 bonus. Those in Wales have been awarded two bonuses, one of £500 in May 2020 and a second of £735 in May 2021.  The Scottish Government has announced a minimum hourly pay rate for care workers of £10.02 from next month. The national living wage in England is £8.91, rising to £9.50 next April.

Stephen Chandler added, 'We are facing a perfect storm with staff quitting, family carers under immense strain, the NHS struggling, care providers going out of business and people being left without care and support. Courageous and compassionate people working in social care are quitting faster than they can be recruited and people who need support to live decent lives are waiting longer for help and getting less of it.'

Many NHS trusts say they cannot tackle record waiting times for treatment because hospitals are full to overflowing.

Stephen Chandler added, ‘We have to ensure that no one goes without vital care and support. Without action now, the pressures on the NHS and family carers will grow and there is a real risk of people suffering indignity and harm and dying alone.’

Visit the ADASS website to read more about ADASS's policy priorities and the winter bonus for care workers.

In other news, The Relatives and Residents Association is calling for urgent action to ‘end the human rights crisis in care.’

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