Sheffield MP calls for action on low pay for care staff

Paul Blomfield
Paul Blomfield

Many care workers in Sheffield are being illegally paid below the minimum wage, a city MP has warned.

Paul Blomfield has called on the Government to tackle the ‘scandal’ of companies breaking the law after the Public Accounts Select Committee found up to 220,000 care workers are earning lower than the legal limit.

He said cases in Sheffield had been brought to light during his recent Big Conversation community consultation scheme.

The Labour MP for Sheffield Central, who highlighted the issue in a recent Parliamentary debate, said: “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 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 per cent were not paying the Minimum Wage.

“Unbelievably the Government then cut HMRC’s funding, which means it has had to stop its investigations into Minimum Wage compliance in the care sector.

“I want ministers to reverse this cut and commit to end this outrageous scandal.

“One carer told me she criss-crosses Sheffield to visit the people she cares for.

“She’ll be at work for eight hours, but is only paid for contact time with clients.

“It means she’ll get four or five hours pay for a day’s work, which brings her wages well below the minimum.

“This is illegal and care workers need to know they must be paid for every hour they’re at work.”