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CARE HOMES AND THE MINIMUM WAGE

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Thousands of women caring for old and vulnerable people suffer low pay, work long hours, with no sick pay or pensio...
Thousands of women caring for old and vulnerable people suffer low pay, work long hours, with no sick pay or pension. What would a minimum wage do for them, even at£3.60?

- A recent survey of 8,000 nursing and residential homes found that even at£3.50, 50% (19,500) of employees would be better off out of a total of 39,116.

- 64% of care assistants, the largest body of employees represented in the survey, would be better off with a minimum wage of only£3.50, this rises to over 90% when set at£4.62 the rate preferred by UNISON.

- Pay was recorded by job title. The minimum rate of pay recorded was£1.53 for a domestic assistant; the average minimum pay rate for the whole survey was£3.28.

- The survey revealed that the overwhelming majority of employers rely (83.49%) did not provide any sick pay apart from Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

- Again, employers almost entirely relied upon the taxpayer to cover any maternity leave, only 6% of employers offered their employees maternity pay above the Statutory Minimum.

- The survey revealed that 34.77% of employers did not pay overtime and 13.46% only paid overtime at bank holidays. Overtime rates were paid at as little as 10p per hour.

- Only 6.29% of employers offered manual grades a pension scheme, 7.71% of administrative grades and 12.43% of managerial.

The Survey: Just over 8,000 nursing and residential homes across the UK were surveyed in February 1998, 1,271 replies were received. The survey covered some 39,116 employees, of which 35,389, over 90% were female.

The PSPRU is a research unit funded by the Council of Civil Service Unions the TGWU and UNISON. Copies of the report are available at£10, free to public sector organisations. Please contact the Unit for further details. Tel 0171 551 1746

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