According to the NHS, caring responsibilities can affect mental and physical health in various ways and 64% of carers feel their health is at risk due to a lack of practical support. These statistics are even more relevant during this Coronavirus pandemic, where carers have been facing even more dangerous working conditions than usual.
Income, employment and working conditions are important social determinants of health. Having a good job can protect health, while being unemployed can contribute to poor health. Paying at least the real Living Wage, providing opportunities for development and giving people flexibility to balance work with family and social life are all indicators of good jobs.
Despite the huge contribution key workers including carers are making right now, The Living Wage Foundation states that over 1 million key workers are not receiving a real Living Wage - which is the independent rate calculated annually on the cost of living. The Living Wage Foundation have therefore launched a campaign for carers and key workers to receive the living wage, and address this inequality.
Citizens UK and the Living Wage Foundation are demanding a real living wage – £9.30 an hour, or £10.75 in London – for all key workers, and is starting the campaign by calling for the social care sector to get an immediate £1.4bn cash boost to increase staff pay.
In an anonymised letter to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Tabitha, a carer said, “I feel like a Roman Gladiator going into the ring on a night shift. Everyone is clapping for you, but you’re pitting yourself against a deadly disease without the proper pay and protection.”
If you would like to, there are several ways you can be involved in the campaign for a living wage for key workers:
- By downloading posters from the Living Wage website and displaying them in your homes.
- By using the hashtag #LivingWage4KeyWorkers on your social media posts
- By writing to your local MP to raise the issue with them
- By signing the Living Wage Foundation and Citizen UK’s petition on their website https://www.livingwage4keyworkers.org.uk/
People’s Health Trust is a Living Wage Foundation funder, and has been an accredited Living Wage Employer since 2012.
To read more news from the Trust, click here.
Support us, play The Health Lottery!