MP Julian Huppert is fighting to get a fairer deal for care workers and has called on the government to make it easier for people to report employers failing to pay at least the minimum wage.
Julian has joined a cross-party group of MPs calling for a meeting with Employment Relations Minister, Jo Swinson after the National Audit Office reported that up to 220,000 workers are not paid the minimum wage.
The government also discovered that 50 per cent of care providers investigated by the tax office between 2011 and 2013 were failing to meet the law; despite this evidence, however, no further investigation was carried out.
Health Minister, Norman Lamb called for proactive inspections of care providers during a Westminster debate in November and Julian has asked when these will begin.
He also wants to discuss the fact that only complaints made from individuals to the government’s Pay and Rights helpline are investigated despite the fact that some workers may be too intimidated to make the call. He wants the rules changed so that referrals can come from trade unions, law centres and Citizens’ Advice Bureaus.
Julian said: “Care workers do a hugely important job across our country looking after elderly and vulnerable people yet some of them are being exploited by their employers and paid far less than the legal minimum wage.
“These practices can go undetected if the individuals concerned do not feel able to raise the alarm. We have a duty to give them the protection they deserve but we can only do that if the government follows through on this investigation to put measures in place to stamp out this illegal practice.
“People have a right to be treated fairly by their employers and the national minimum wage was put in place to make sure that they were fairly paid.”