As a not-for-profit provider of residential and domiciliary care, we recognise the essential, high-quality work of our Somerset Care teams, and have introduced a new pay structure that pays all of our employees substantially above the Real Living Wage, regardless of their length of service.
What is the Real Living Wage?
A measure of the real cost of living based on the price of goods and services, the Real Living Wage is a voluntary standard designed to help employees meet the cost of their everyday needs. Updated every year to reflect changing costs, the current Real Living Wage is £9.90 per hour for over 18s.
We have decided to take this one step further, and pay all of our non-apprentice roles a minimum of £10.50 per hour – 6% above the voluntary Real Living Wage rate, and a massive 16.6% above the Minimum Wage (currently £8.91 per hour for over 23s) required by law.
All non-apprentice employees of Somerset Care will receive a minimum of £10.50 per hour from today, 1st February 2022. This means that around 80% of the our current workforce will see their wages increase by more than 10% overnight.
We have also updated our pay banding for all apprenticeship roles attributed to our services, and committed to pay the equivalent of National Minimum Wage, a rate not normally applicable to apprentice roles. This currently equates to £8.91 per hour for over 18s effective for all hours worked from 1st February 2022, increasing to £9.50 per hour from April 2022.
What will the increase mean for colleagues?
A pay increase will mean different things for different people, but it is not hard to see the benefits that this uplift offers to those who for us to provide a valuable service for those they support. Having consulted its members about the pay increase, Somerset Care employees told UNISON:
“£10.50 an hour is a substantial increase in my current wage and will certainly help with the current rise in living costs. Although I do not do my job for the money, it will make me feel that I am getting paid a decent wage for doing a very hard, but rewarding job and that it is being recognised more.”
“It makes me feel valued for a job I love doing.”
“It will help a lot with saving for our own home! Plus it feels nice to be paid better for the amazing work us carers do!”
Doing the right thing
Gary Ridewood, CEO of Somerset Care, explains why the organisation has taken the decision to increase the minimum wage received by its employees:
“More than ever, the past few years have highlighted how crucial care workers are to those needing support in our local communities. Our teams – whether they work in our residential care homes, in community settings, or behind-the-scenes in a supporting role – do an incredible job, are hugely valued by their clients and us as an organisation, and deserve competitive pay. We want to make sure that their work is fairly recognised and rewarded, and our commitment to increase our employment entry rate is a small part of our wider ongoing Total Rewards Review for all colleagues.
“We’re proud to be able to offer all of our new starters in non-apprentice roles a minimum of £10.50 per hour as an entry rate. It is important to us that this rate of pay is available immediately to all of our new starters, rather than it effectively being a retention bonus that is only available after a certain length of service. We value our teams from Day 1, and want them to feel valued and be adequately rewarded from their very first day with Somerset Care.
“Our teams make a real and valued difference by providing essential, high-quality support to those in our care, and we want to do the right thing by ensuring that they earn a wage for doing so which covers the real cost of living. Carer pay has a reputation for being low, and we’re working to change that perception at Somerset Care.”