Kirklees Cabinet has today approved regional plans to use NHS funding to support the social care sector in Kirklees this winter by supporting an uplift in the National Living Wage.
The single biggest factor affecting staff turnover is basic pay, closely followed by feeling undervalued. One way to reduce this is by implementing the National Living Wage before April 2022 for those not currently receiving it.
A regional funding package from the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership will see £2m invested in social care staff working in the independent sector in Kirklees. This will mean improved pay rates that help demonstrate a parity of esteem alongside NHS staff and recognise the incredible contribution of the social care workforce throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Longstanding issues with pay and competition for staff from other sectors have come to a head, particularly in the context of seasonal workforce recruitment in the retail and hospitality sectors. As a result, the sector is facing additional recruitment and retention challenges which in turn is leading to further pressure on families and carers, as well as the health and care sector. More people are awaiting hospital discharge or experiencing problems with community care service delivery and variations in experience of care.
Councillor Musarrat Khan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care said: “I am delighted that we are investing in our social care workforce in the independent sector through the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP). Care workers have shown heroic commitment and resilience to the residents they have looked after during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This investment will give a huge boost to the workforce in Kirklees and will demonstrate the value of integrated working.
“By increasing the uplift in pay for staff now we will be in a much better position to retain and recruit staff to make sure our residents receive the quality care they need and deserve to stay well and independent for as long as possible.”
Pay rates for workers on the minimum wage are set to rise in April 2022, with the rate for those aged over 23 rising to £9.50 an hour from £8.91. The rise means a full-time worker will get £1,074 extra a year before tax.
James Creegan, Chair of Kirklees Care Association said: “We are delighted WY HCP has recognised the importance of the social care workforce and their invaluable contribution to ensuring our most vulnerable people get the care they need and deserve.
“Being able to bring forward the national minimum wage increase by four months should make a difference to the people who work tirelessly and show that they are truly valued as professionals within the health and social care system. Whilst this will not solve the problem of workforce recruitment or retention it might go some way to stabilising a difficult situation faced by many independent providers of social care. It demonstrates that our partners are committed to ensuring the social care workforce is treated with equity and valued in the same way as their NHS colleagues”.
Further work as part of WY HCP’s People Plan is underway to support the wider needs of the sector, including recruitment, training, and career development opportunities and ensuring the value of the workforce in the sector is recognised.