Paul Blomfield MP

Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central

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Press release: Ministers are turning a blind eye to the scandal of illegal pay for carers

Paul Blomfield MP, today called on the Government to tackle the scandal of care workers illegally paid below the National Minimum Wage. Speaking in a Parliamentary debate on the care sector, Mr Blomfield said Ministers were turning a blind eye to companies breaking the law by paying 220,000 carers below the legal minimum. Speaking about cases that came to light in Sheffield during his recent community consultation, the Big Conversation, he highlighted the illegal practice of carers not being paid for travel time between appointments. He called on Ministers to ensure that HMRC investigate the exploitation of low paid workers; and urged any carers who are concerned about their pay and rights to contact the national Pay & Work Rights helpline.

Speaking after the debate Paul Blomfield MP said:

“Horrendous stories about low pay and poor working conditions in the care sector were repeatedly raised with me during my Big Conversation meetings. Across the country 220,000 care workers earn less than the national minimum wage.  These carers, predominantly women, are doing some of the most important work in society – caring for the frail, elderly and disabled - but are being exploited and denied the dignity of being paid the Minimum Wage. The Government is turning a blind eye to this scandal. 

“Companies that are failing to pay travel time are breaking the law and robbing their staff. It’s a huge problem. HMRC investigated care providers between 2011 and 2013 and found 50% were not paying the Minimum Wage. Unbelievably the Government then cut HMRC’s funding which means they’ve had to stop their investigations into Minimum Wage compliance in the care sector. I want Ministers to reverse this funding cut immediately and commit to end this outrageous scandal.

“One carer told me how she criss-crosses Sheffield to visit the people she cares for. She’ll be at work for 8 hours, but is only paid for contact time with clients. It means that she’ll get just 4 or 5 hours pay for a full day’s work, which brings her wages well below the national minimum. This is illegal and all care workers need to know that they must be paid for every hour they’re at work, including travel time. Anyone who thinks that they, or anyone they know, are being paid below the minimum wage or not paid for travel time should contact the national Pay & Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.”

--Ends—

Notes for Editors

1. In July 2014 the Public Accounts Select Committee published a report into Adult social care in England. In their report the Committee stated “We are astonished that up to 220,000 care workers earn less than minimum wage and seemingly little has been done to rectify this”http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news/adult-social-care-substantive/ 

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