Social care workers are set to receive a long-awaited pay increase four months early thanks to a landmark £15million pound agreement between health and care organisations across South Yorkshire. 

The National Living Wage (NLW), which is due to rise nationally from 1st April 2022 to £9.50 (per-hour), will be brought forward and start this winter for all adult social care workers across South Yorkshire – equating to an additional 122 days of increased hourly pay in the run-up to Christmas.

South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, Local Authorities, CCGs and NHS providers were able to agree on the salary uplift plans which will help to retain adult social care staff during the winter pressures - one of the busiest times of the year for health and care systems.

The salary increase is being funded through South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System’s (SYB ICS) annual expenditure, with £8.9 million being put aside specifically for the NLW increase and £6.1 million being utilised for social care capacity, support to general practice and other patient-facing services.

The current NLW is £8.91 and the rise to £9.50 represents a 6.6% increase in salary which was recently recommended by The Low Pay Commission (27th October) - an independent public body that advises the Government each year on the rates of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) including the National Living Wage (NLW).

Pearse Butler, Independent Chair of South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS, said:

‘We’re really delighted to be able to fast-track the salary increase for our adult social care workforce. They have given so much already in protecting our most vulnerable and frail communities across South Yorkshire, both before and during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the first time in several decades that I can recall the NHS being able to invest in social care salaries equating to 17 weeks of higher pay which is the right thing to do at a time when the cost of living has risen sharply.

This much-deserved salary increase will help to retain staff within South Yorkshire’s health and care system, whilst also incentivising others to consider a move into the social care workforce, which as we know, is a highly demanding but thoroughly rewarding career that makes a huge difference people across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.”

Phil Holmes, Director of Adults, Health and Wellbeing at Doncaster Council, said:
“South Yorkshire’s care workers support adults of all ages to live their lives. Their dedication to keeping people safe and well also helps relieve pressure on the NHS. It’s fantastic that NHS funding is being used by South Yorkshire’s Integrated Care System to recognise this huge contribution and to reward social care staff this winter”.

Councillor Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “We welcome the additional funding to support work across health and social care. It remains a challenging time, and we will be doing more to build capacity across health and social care, but we hope in the short term, the offer to increase pay to meet the national living wage will support the sector to retain and recruit staff.”

“We are pleased that we were able to work with the sector to deliver £1 above the national living wage for carers in Barnsley in 2019; we remain committed to improving pay, terms and conditions and will continue with our commitment through this funding. Roles across health and social care are invaluable for our communities, and they deliver an essential service within our borough. The pandemic has been a difficult time for the sector, but we must look forward and support the sector to provide the best care and support for Barnsley residents, helping them to get the support and care they need when they need it, so they are able to live well.”

The NLW is the statutory minimum wage for workers aged 23-and-over. There are different minimum wage rates that apply to 21-22 years-olds, 18–20 year-olds, 16–17 year-olds and apprentices aged under-19 (or in the first year of an apprenticeship).

The Government’s White Paper ‘Integration and Innovation’ (11th February 2021,) means that the proposed Health and Care Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament is still subject to the final approval.

It is expected that ICSs will become statutory organisations on 1st April 2022 and the SYB ICS will host the NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (SYICB) and the South Yorkshire Integrated Care Partnership (SYICP) – a formal alliance of health and care partners across South Yorkshire.