Pay rates

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New - 2019/2020 pay rates update

The National Living Wage (NLW) is due to rise by 51p for over 25s (from £8.21 to £8.72) in April 2020.

Currently, around 625,000 (50%) independent sector adult social care workers are paid below £8.72 and will therefore directly benefit from this increase by an average of £600 per year.

Increasing the pay of the workers directly affected by the new NLW rate will increase the wage bill of the adult social care sector by an estimated £375m-£400m per year, or £250m-£300m more than the wage bill would have increased if the NLW had just risen in line with inflation.

There could also be indirect costs of the latest NLW rate if employers provide similar pay rises to workers already paid above £8.72 in order to maintain pay differentials between experienced and new staff, job roles or competitors (these costs have not been included in the estimates above).


March 2019 pay rates 

This report details pay rates across the adult social care sector in England as at March 2019. 

It examines pay trends since 2011/12, investigates any side effects in the adult social care sector as a result of the higher pay floor, and looks at the potential impact of the 2019 National Living Wage (set at £8.21).

The report mainly focusses on care worker hourly rates and differentials with other job roles in the sector.

Key findings

  • The average care worker was better off, in real terms, by 62p per hour in March 2019 than they were in September 2012 (8%).
  • Given the aim for the NLW to reach 60 per cent of median earnings, it is likely that care workers will see both nominal and real term increases in the short term.
  • The pay gap between the most experienced care workers and those new to the sector has halved from 30p in March 2016 to 15p in March 2019.
  • The proportion of care workers being paid on the wage floor has increased since the introduction of the NLW, rising from 17% of care workers being paid the minimum rate in March 2016 to 28% in March 2019.
  • Around a quarter (25%) of care workers were paid on or above the Real Living Wage (set by the Living Wage Foundation) in September 2012, but this figure has slowly fallen to just over 10% in March 2019.
  • Around 83% of adult social care organisations in the independent sector in March 2019 were paying at least some of their workers below the next mandatory NLW (£8.21) and will therefore be directly affected by its introduction.

Related reports 

  • Please see chapter five of the relevant regional report for pay information by geographical area. 
  • Access pay information in chapter five of the 'State of' report below.
  • Access specific pay information in the workforce estimates below.

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