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Struggles of England’s Underpaid Care Workers

Nearly half of all care workers in England are paid less than the living wage, according to research by the Institute for Public Policy Research for the Living Wage Foundation. Matt, a care worker in Newham, experienced low pay and long hours but improved his situation by finding a better-paying role. Despite his progress, many care workers consider leaving for better-paying jobs in other industries.
Nearly half of all care workers in England are paid less than the living wage, according to research by the Institute for Public Policy Research for the Living Wage Foundation.

The study found that 400,000 workers in social care earn less than £12 an hour, which is below the amount required to cover living costs.

Matt, a 33-year-old domiciliary care worker in Newham, east London, started working in social care during the pandemic after losing his job as a chef.

Despite working 45 hours a week, helping clients with daily tasks, Matt earned only £9.50 an hour and faced substantial travel time without pay.

He often earned between one dollar 65 and one dollar 70 a day but was left with only one dollar 50 to one dollar 200 each month after bills and living costs.

Switching to a company offering the London living wage of £13.15 allowed him to pay bills and enjoy life more fully.

Matt now holds a senior role as a care coordinator in east London, earning £24,000 a year, which has improved his quality of life dramatically.

Despite his progress, many of his colleagues consider leaving the sector for better-paying jobs elsewhere.

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