Council insists that care workers are paid the London Living Wage

Merton Council is ensuring that care workers supporting residents across the borough to live independently are paid at least the London Living Wage including for travel time between care visits.  

At a meeting on 20 February, the council’s cabinet agreed to commission Future Homecare Arrangements for a five year contract, starting on 1 October. The terms of the contract, worth £56.8million, will include a requirement to pay the London Living Wage to all staff working for the companies who provide services under the contract. 

All bidders for the contract will be required to agree to a pay rate for carers proposed by the council, which will be initially fixed until April 2024 and then increased annually by an amount equivalent to the percentage year on year change in London Living Wage.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Living Wage Foundation has accredited the council as a Living Wage Employer. This means that as well as paying all our employees and agency workers at least the London Living Wage – something we’ve been doing since 2013 – we’ve put a plan in place to ensure all our contractors are also paid at least the London Living Wage, or the Real Living Wage, if the work is carried outside London.

Council Leader, Councillor Ross Garrod said: “Future Homecare Arrangements is one of the council’s biggest contracts and, for the first time, we will be asking that carers are paid a London Living Wage. The council is proud to be a living wage accredited employer and we want to ensure that all of our contractors pay the staff working on providing our services the London Living Wage too. Ensuring fair salaries for our staff does cost more, but we need to do it to ensure that we are fit for purpose and ready to deliver for our residents.”

Approximately 8,400 hours of care are delivered each week for people in Merton.

The council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care,  Councillor Peter McCabe, said: “These carers look after our residents, so we need to look after the carers by ensuring that they are paid at least the London Living Wage for the vital job they do to help people to stay independent. Providing personal care, including bathing, dressing and other essential tasks around the home is hard work and many carers, like their clients, have been among those most affected by the cost of living crisis.”