Thousands of care workers in St Helens Borough will be paid the Real Living Wage to help boost staffing levels, after an urgent decision by the Council Leader David Baines today (Wednesday 26 April).
The move comes in response to challenges in adult social care across the country, where the high level of vacancies and the movement of the workforce to higher-paying jobs in retail and hospitality has made the sector increasingly fragile.
The real living wage is the only wage rate calculated based on the true cost of living, whereas the national living wage is a percentage of average earnings.
The rate for the UK increased in April 2023 to £10.90 per hour. This is higher than the current national living wage, which also increased in April to £10.42.
Council Leader David Baines approved the urgent decision which is hoped will partially mitigate the fragility of the social care sector and fundamentally recognise and value the care and dedication that is provided to residents by local care workers.
And it supports council priorities of promoting good health, independence and care across the borough, while contributing to stronger communities and the local economy. The decision will be reported on and noted at the next available Cabinet meeting.
The announcement sees St Helens Borough join other local authorities in the North West in paying the real living wage, helping local care salaries remain competitive with neighbouring areas.
Councillor Baines said: “Our care workers do an incredible job and they deserve a pay rise. I’m delighted we’ve been able to do this and to help thousands of local workers at this difficult time for all of us. Thank you to them all for everything they do.”
Councillor Marlene Quinn, Cabinet Member for Integrated Care, said:
“Given the fragility within the adult social care sector and our moral and ethical responsibility to recognise the valued work undertaken by care staff to the most vulnerable people in the borough, this decision has our full support.
“Paying the Real Living Wage will have a positive impact on staff retention and wellbeing at a time when the cost-of-living is presenting real hardship in many thousands of hardworking homes. And ultimately this move will benefit the wider community – the people, our friends and family, who rely on the kindness and dedication of our care workers.”