Nearly two thirds (60%) of all home care jobs advertised in the past six months offered a wage which would not be enough to live on.
An investigation by ITV News, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and the Mirror found that this amounted to 7,000 jobs offering to pay less than the Real Living Wage (RLW).
The voluntary wage currently stands at £9.50 in the UK and £10.85 in London.
The rate of low paid care jobs being advertised is even worse in Wales, with three quarters (75%) of care work adverts there offering below the RLW, despite a recent pledge from the Welsh Government that all carers would receive at least that much.
And of the 205 UK councils responsible for social care, 189 had jobs offering less than the RLW.
The news follows a recent survey by the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) which found that home care providers are finding recruitment and retention more challenging than ever, with low pay and poor terms and conditions having the biggest impact on capacity.
UKHCA set a Minimum Price for Homecare of £21.43 per hour for 2021/22, which covers the minimum legally compliant pay rate for care workers (excluding any enhancements for unsocial hours working), their travel time, mileage and wage-related on-costs.
But councils in England reported a planned average hourly rate for home care this year of just £18.49, and an ADASS survey carried out between May 20 and June 18, found that the national average rate for home care was £18.25, based on 145 responses from local councils responsible for social care.
This figure does not include temporary uplifts in hourly rates for Covid-19 reasons.
In February, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner urged the government to increase pay for care workers to at least £10 an hour, warning that “poverty wages” are not only “morally wrong” but “holding back the economy”.
In a keynote speech at Unison Women’s Conference today, Angela Rayner said that a pay rise for social care “heroes” is “well overdue” and the “least that they deserve” after the last year.
Her statement followed the launch of a Parliamentary petition, signed by more than 24,000 people, which called for a £3.9 billion special support fund to make fair pay a reality for care staff across the country.