Pay, productivity and social value

This report from UK think tank the Centre for Policy Progressive looks at why key workers deserve a better deal.

The Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP) warns that there is a gap between the ‘market’ and social value of keyworker roles, particularly within the adult social care sector. In the report, ‘Pay, productivity and social value: why key workers deserve a better deal’, CPP highlights that while some key workers are well paid or well represented by trade unions, others are suffering under insecure job contracts and poor enforcement of minimum wage standards. CPP calls on the government to intervene by compensating all key workers for their contribution during this time of crisis and consulting on fairer minimum standards in key sectors beyond the pandemic.

The paper reveals that the key workers at highest risk are among the lowest paid. Care workers’ hourly earnings are nearly 30% below the median, and a third are employed on zero hours contracts. Meanwhile, the death rate of home care and care workers has been over three times higher than the average working person during the pandemic. CPP argues that society should acknowledge the vital work done by these people in offering a one-off compensation payment in recognition of the personal risks they have taken.

Respecting and properly remunerating key workers remains essential beyond the pandemic. The demand for social care in particular is already high and is increasing in deprived areas in the UK; paying care workers a fair wage would both improve care outcomes and contribute to the levelling up agenda.

CPP is calling on the government to remunerate key workers for risks taken throughout the pandemic, and to ensure all key workers receive a fair wage relative to their social value

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