Social Care in 2016
Much of what we do in Agincare and across the social care sector is determined not just by our own activity as employers, but by other organisations or statutory agencies. Every year, 1 April brings with it a flurry of activity relating to the new start of the financial year for the Councils we work with and usual fee reviews for both these Councils, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and indeed private pay clients. This year it came with even more impact, with the new National Living Wage (NLW). The government introduced this for workers aged 25 and above, initially set at £7.20. Rather confusingly, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) continues to apply for those aged 21 to 24, with the premium added on top for those aged 25 and over. However, Agincare has decided to place rates for those under 25 at the same rates as those above, other than where specific schemes may be in place.
Agincare's Mel Cairnduff delivering Domiciliary CareGiven increasing publicity about the NMW, the NLW and issues like travel time & use of zero hours contracts, social care employers have increasingly had questions asked of them about their employment practices. Agincare staff and regular readers of our website or social media accounts will know that as an organisation we have campaigned for years regarding the funding of social care system, the manner in which care is ‘purchased’ (by Councils and CCGs) and the challenges for this on workforce, consistency of supply and quality. Agincare ensure that travel time is covered in our hourly rates, pay additional mileage, enhanced hours where possible and although we do offer various contracts, including zero hours, all have full employment rights. However, the sector remains a challenging one in which to recruit and retain.