A first for care in the UK
Housing & Care 21 has announced a company-wide revision to the pay structure for their carers and introduced guaranteed hours contracts in a bid to boost staff retention, encourage new recruits into the care profession and combat the industry’s crippling skills gap.
Care staff employed by the organisation, which is a leading not-for-profit national provider of retirement housing and extra care housing for older people, can now expect a wage that sits 10% above the National Living Wage and guaranteed hours contracts for 100% of their normal hours.
The news follows the release of concerning industry statics from Skills for Care, that reveal a worsening skills gap in the lead up to 2030, when an additional 700,000 social care workers will be required to service an increasingly ageing population . The announcement sees Housing & Care 21 call for other providers to follow suit and improve pay and conditions for care staff in the UK.
This, teamed with 90,000 job vacancies in care at any one time within England alone , prompted Housing & Care 21 to set an industry precedent in a bid to plug the skills gap, increase staff retention and in turn improve standards of care for their residents
At present staff retention within the care sector is at an all-time low, with 340,000 social care employees leaving their jobs each year according to industry reports . The new pay structure introduced by Housing & Care 21 is just one way in which the organisation is looking to tackle this, along with moving all care workers onto guaranteed hour contracts for 100% of their normal hours. As part of this, Housing & Care 21 will ensure that at least 70% of care is provided by permanent care staff with guaranteed hours and no more than 30% of care is delivered by a pool of bank staff who have chosen to work flexibly.
Housing & Care 21 has already demonstrated good levels of performance, with 97% of services rated as GOOD with the regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Along with investing in better terms and conditions for care workers, it is also investing heavily in training and inducting carer workers by offering diplomas in Health and Social Care.
Tony Tench, Chief Operations Officer at Housing & Care 21 commented: “It is no secret that the care industry is suffering from reputational issues when it comes to staff retention and attracting new recruits into the sector. As a leading provider of Extra Care housing, we are looking to address this head-on by playing our part and supporting our care staff with what matters most to them, higher rates of pay, guaranteed hours where appropriate and a supportive working environment with management time dedicated to their development.
“Working in care is hard, we recognise that and have chosen to increase the hourly rate for our carers to reflect the value of the work that they do. Our residents tell us that the quality and continuity of their care staff is really important to them so we want to do our best to attract and retain really good people. You can’t put a price on kindness, but we are doing everything we can to ensure our staff are valued and supported in the work that they do.”
Holly Heslop, a Housing and Care Manager at Housing & Care 21, comments on the impact the investments are set to have: “I have worked my way up in Extra Care within Housing & Care 21, starting as a carer and progressing through to managing a team of carers and an Extra Care Court. During this time, I’ve seen a lot of change within the sector, one of which has been a growing negative perception surrounding working conditions for care staff. I’ve known this to put people off working in the sector, despite them being passionate about caring for others.
“Many people just don’t see social care as a feasible career due to the pay and zero hours contracts. The changes we are making here hopefully means that talent won’t be lost - we can retain the best carers and people can pursue a career in care without worrying about money or progression. It’s exactly how it should be, and I feel very proud to be working for an organisation that is standing up for the care staff and investing to make a difference for the carers and ultimately, our residents.”