Fair pay for social care workers

Staff to be paid at least the Real Living Wage.

A commitment to ensure adult social care workers receive at least the Real Living Wage of £9.50 an hour has been agreed with COSLA.

Funding of £64.5 million will be committed to ensure adult social care workers will be paid at least the Real Living Wage from May 2021, backdated to April 2021. This is an important early response to the recent Independent Review of Adult Social Care and comes as a joint statement between with COSLA has been issued setting out how they will work together to deliver on the review’s recommendations.

Subject to the outcome of the Scottish Parliament elections,  minimum standards for employment terms and conditions will be developed for the sector in partnership with COSLA. This includes a requirement for ethical commissioning which ensures procurement decisions take into account factors beyond price, including fair work, terms and conditions and trade union recognition.

There will also be new measures introduced to ensure staff, the majority of whom are women, are able to raise concerns, respond to local conditions and support an effective collective bargaining role in a sector where staff currently lack a clear representative voice.  

The Scottish Government and COSLA have also jointly committed to working together to deliver recommendations of the independent review, including:  

  • ending charging for non-residential services as soon as possible
  • introducing agreed ethical commissioning principles 
  • overhauling eligibility criteria to ensure social care support is based on human rights and needs
  • implementing measures to put voices of those with lived experience at the heart of policy development and service delivery
  • ensuring unpaid carers are fully supported to continue in their caring roles

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Social care workers do a critical and invaluable job and they should be paid fairly for it. The Scottish Government want Scotland’s social care services to be high quality and consistent for those who use them and also for those who deliver them.

“Derek Feeley’s Independent Review of Adult Social Care set out clearly the need for better recognition and treatment of the, largely female, workforce, describing this as a key issue of equality and gender fairness, as well as an investment in critical service provision. The Scottish Government agree with those conclusions.

“This funding will help support a move to an ethical approach to commissioning which recognises the economic and social value of the work that staff in social care do, and that decisions must be about more than just price.”

COSLA Health and Social Care Spokesperson Councillor Stuart Currie said:

“This statement of intent will allow work to begin now which will make improvements to adult social care in Scotland, and I welcome this progress.

“It is evident that there is significant discussion needed around the areas in the review that relate to governance and accountability within the report. However, COSLA Leaders are clear that there is much in the report to be welcomed  particularly the principles in relation to empowering people, valuing the workforce and embedding a human rights-based approach in social care.”



Backing for Feeley Review recommendations - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Fair Work in Scotland’s Social Care Sector 2019 - The Fair Work Convention


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