In October 2014, the UK government raised the minimum wage for workers over 21 to £6.50 per hour, irrespective of the sector they worked in. Although it has been argued that this is still well below the recommended living wage advised by the OECD, as reported by the BBC, it was the first significant statutory rise in the minimum wage for three years.
However, despite the minimum wage being a statutory requirement for employers, many firms are still flouting the regulations. In a recent bid to stop this practice, as reported recently the government has decided to ‘name and shame‘ offenders. What is of serious concern in this latest report is that the worst offender was an East Midlands care provider, which had underpaid 184 care workers by £37,500. In addition, 100 other care providers had also been found to be underpaying their workers.
The impact of low pay on elderly healthcare
With an increasingly aging population in the UK, the role of social elderly care providers is critical to improving the quality of life for the elderly and infirmed. Yet a spate of recent cases have confirmed that neglect and abuse. To reverse this situation, there is a need for the elderly care providers to attract quality and dedicated workers who are committed to improving the quality of care being provided to this segment of the population. This means recruiting workers who will change the culture of care homes to one where quality of life for the elderly patient is of paramount importance. There are many students and other people who are committed to providing care for the elderly. These carers have dedicated time and money to learn the skills and competences required to carry out elderly care tasks. However, if the care providers are not going to pay the minimum wage, let alone a living wage, it is not surprising to find that many are deciding to seek alternative employment or leaving the care sector.
Casre providers need to recognise that an unreasonable focus on profit at the expense of a quality workforce, represents a significant risk to the elderly members of our families and the population
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