PLAID CYMRU says it is standing up for home care workers who they say are facing unfair working practices. The party is calling on the Welsh Government to ban zero hour contracts for the sector. The Party of Wales’ Shadow Health Minister Elin Jones highlighted the fact that an estimated 60% of care workers were on zero hour contracts, and around a third of them earn less than the minimum wage because they are not paid travelling time.
Plaid Cymru has previously tabled amendments to ban the use of zero hour contracts in the home care sector, but its efforts have been voted down by the Welsh Government. Elin Jones has argued that a recent Supreme Court Ruling has given assurances that the Welsh Government is empowered to legislate in the field, and should do so immediately.
The Party of Wales’ Shadow Health Minister Elin Jones said: “The Welsh Government can no longer hide behind the excuse that it doesn’t have the power to act. Plaid Cymru will be tabling amendments to the upcoming Care Regulation and Inspection legislation to protect workers.
“Plaid Cymru’s aspiration is that all homecare workers would earn at least the living wage, and that zero hour contracts will be outlawed. They do one of the most important jobs in society – caring for the vulnerable – yet that work is undervalued. “The figures are shocking and show that the majority of homecare workers in the UK are employed on zero hour contracts, and that up to a third do not even earn the minimum wage because they are not paid travelling time.
“Zero hour contracts are often exploitative. They are unpredictable and workers have no guarantee of their income from week to week, no protection from unfair dismissal, no maternity rights or redundancy rights, and no sick pay or pensions. “Homecare workers play a crucial role in delivering care in the community and keeping people well in their homes. In return for that Plaid Cymru wants to make sure that they have fair working conditions. It’s not much to ask – the Welsh Government needs to act.”