Social care
Low pay

The scale of minimum wage underpayment in social care

There is increasing recognition that a better deal for the workforce will be essential to the quality and sustainability of social care provision in the UK, but so far there has been scant evidence as to the scale of investment needed. The Resolution Foundation is currently undertaking a major investigation into the costs of improving care worker conditions – via things like paying the living wage and enhancing pension contributions – and the wider savings that would result, for example through lower tax credit spending as wages rise.

But before we consider the costs and benefits of improvements like these, it is essential to ensure that pay levels at least comply with the law. The National Minimum Wage is a right, not a privilege, but previous research has shown that a significant minority of frontline care workers are not receiving it. This note describes how we have developed this previous research by estimating the quantum of wages missing from frontline workers’ pockets each year due to minimum wage non-compliance on the part of care providers.