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21st Jul 2023

Carers set to get National Living Wage as hours are cut

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The Government has announced that there will be an increase in funding for home carers and it will be provided by the State.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said that the extra money, which will see carers paid at least the National Living Wage of €11.30 per hour, will “help address some of the key issues impacting recruitment and retention in the sector”.

This move will also take travel time into consideration for the first time ever.

State-funded home support is currently provided by the HSE and other private providers.

According to RTÉ, Minister Donnelly said: “The new higher rates will advance significant sectoral reform, and will, for the first time, incorporate travel time for home support providers, reform legacy rates, and ensure carers are paid the National Living Wage at a minimum.

“This promises to help maintain the high volumes of service delivery and to reduce waiting times for home support.”

The Department of Health has said that in 2023, the overall home care budget is €723 million.

The charity Alone which works to support older people to age at home has shared their support of the increase in pay. but said older people should not see their hours be cut.

Responding to the reduction in Department of Health targets in the National Service Plan 2023 for the provision of 23.9 million hours of home support, to a revised target of 22 million hours, Alone said the “shrinkflation” by Donnelly is now occurring.

“The least that home support workers should expect is to be paid the national living wage, and to be reimbursed for the time they spend travelling,” said Alone CEO Seán Moynihan told RTÉ.