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Social Care Pay Changes in 2024  

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Social Care Pay Changes in 2024  

In 2024, a landmark government policy will have direct impact on agencies and agency workers in the social care sector. This is the increase to the national minimum wage (also known as the National Living Wage), coming into effect from 1 April 2024.

It’s a policy sure to create significant ripple effects across social care in the UK. We’ll delve into how these changes may affect social work and social care professionals in 2024. 

How Will the Rise in the National Living Wage Affect Social Care Jobs?

For workers over 23 years of age, the minimum wage will rise to £11.44 an hour from £10.42. Workers aged between 21-22 can also expect to earn a minimum of £11.44 an hour, up from £10.18.

For those working in social care jobs, the rise in national minimum wage is a welcome step. It will lift the pay of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) social care jobs to £22,308 for the first time in history. Senior professionals in social care can also expect to see their wages increase as well, as a minimum wage increase tends to lift pay rates across the board. 

The upside for employers is that it will help attract more talent into social care jobs in the UK, something that has always been a struggle for the sector. 

​Impacts on Employers in Social Care Services

Recognition of such an undervalued sector is indeed important, but does it really mean “recognition of care workers”, or is the government simply using the social care sector as an easy platform from which to drive up the minimum wage, without additional support for employers?

On paper, a minimum wage increase is welcome. But in reality, there are knock-on effects organisations will have to grapple with. 

Has the increase in the living wage come with increased funding into the social care sector? The answer is no. We’re not seeing fee providers receiving a funding increase from Local Authorities, either. 

There is a danger that the NMW rise will place burdens on SME care providers, who are at best struggling in a low-funded sector. In times of high inflation and high operating costs, increasing their wage expenses can only have a worrying impact on these care providers’ ability to support their workforces. 

In the privately funded social care sector, smaller organisations with tight budgets will find it particularly challenging to absorb higher wage expenses. Smaller agencies might then find it difficult to compete with larger providers.

Our Managing Director, Jonathan Wadsworth, commented:

“With these factors in mind, we must be prepared for the possibility of job losses, particularly for entry-level positions. Providers might respond to higher wage costs by cutting staff or reducing work hours – which can contribute to increased workloads.”

Should organisations avoid job cuts, another possible outcome is that they might cut costs in other areas, such as training and professional development, to offset increased wage expenses. This could result in a workforce with fewer opportunities for skill enhancement and career advancement.

If the government wanted to take positive action in the care sector, they would support an increase in NMW with increased funding where it is needed most.


The social care landscape in the UK is set to undergo notable changes in 2024. It’s time when staying informed and being proactive can help you decide your next move regarding recruitment or changing jobs. To share your thoughts or find out more about what these changes mean for you, contact us today. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest news on social care jobs and developments.