In May 2017, the Living Wage went up to £8.45 per hour. Today the Living Wage is: £8.75
Why has the Living Wage increased?
A new Living Wage is announced each year and the Living Wage rates are independently calculated and based on the real cost of living. The Scottish Government made a commitment to increase the minimum hourly earnings of Social Care staff in Scotland to enable people to be paid the Living Wage for each hour that they work. This commitment was reflected in the financial settlement that the Scottish Government agreed with Local Authorities for 2018 – 2019, which includes provision for the increase in the Scottish Living Wage.
Who does the Living Wage apply to?
The Scottish Government has clearly stated that they see the Living Wage as applying to all ‘Adult Social Care Workers’, that are providing direct care and support to adults in care homes, care at home services and housing support. In addition, the funding to Local Authorities was awarded on the basis that it was to go to Providers of Care and Support services and Direct Payment recipients who complied with Scottish Living Wage rates. This means that PA Employers should also be covered by the increase in the Living Wage.
If I am a PA Employer, do I have to pay my PA the Living Wage?
The Scottish Government and Local Government have jointly committed to enabling the Living Wage to be paid to all adult social care workers in Scotland, including Personal Assistants. The financial settlement has provided the funds to enable this to happen. Therefore, there is now the opportunity for PA Employers to receive an increase in their SDS budget, to enable them to pay the Living Wage. However, there is no legal requirement for a PA Employer to pay the Living Wage – but it may make it harder to recruit Personal Assistants in the future if they are not being paid at least the Living Wage.
Will I receive an increase in my SDS budget from today?
Before there are any changes to people’s SDS budgets to reflect the increase in Living Wage, each Health and Social Care Partnership across Scotland will have to decide how it is implementing the increase to the Living Wage. In practice, this means that each Integrated Joint Board (IJB) will be looking at this question now – so this may not have been agreed yet.
What can I do to find out about how the Living Wage is being implemented in my area?
There are 3 things you could do:
1. If you receive less that the Living Wage currently to pay for your support, you could speak to your Social Worker to ask how the Living Wage will be being increased in your SDS budget
2. Speak to the SDS Lead in your area to ask how the Living Wage is being implemented locally
3. Contact the Integration Joint Board in your area to find out how they are implementing the Living Wage in your area
What about Sleepovers?
The Scottish Government made a commitment to support the payment of sleepovers at the Living Wage rate. However, whilst this is an aim, it is not required in law. The case law that was created last year means that anyone providing sleeping night support should be paid at a rate that is equal to the National Minimum Wage (NMW). However, different Local Authorities are developing their own policies regarding the payment levels for sleepovers, which may include a commitment to the Living Wage for sleepovers. You will therefore need to check what the policy for sleepovers is in your area.
What are different Local Authorities doing?
Each Local Authority is developing their own policy regarding the implementation of the Living Wage for Care Workers and Personal Assistants. Therefore, it is important to know what is happening in your area. To give you some examples of the differences, we have copies of Reports that are being considered by 2 different Integrated Joint Boards. These are:
Glasgow: Glasgow City Integrated Joint Board – Scottish Living Wage Settlement (9th May 2018)
Dumfries and Galloway: Scottish Living Wage Implications for Delegated Social Work Budgets 2018/19
Backdating of SDS Budgets:
As it may take time to agree a local policy, there is a possibility that any increase in a person’s budget to enable them as an employer to pay the Living Wage, may come later than 1st May. Therefore, it may be possible to ask for the extra payment to be backdated, to at least 1st May. However, some Local Authorities may be looking at backdated payments to an earlier date (eg Glasgow are considering backdating to 9th April 2018).
We would be very keen to hear about what is happening in your Local Authority area, so please feel free to post comments to this blog and let us know what is happening locally here.