The UK is set to face a social care crisis as the sector is estimated to be 400,000 workers short by 2028, due to low pay and poor working conditions.
Over half a million workers are paid below the real living wage, £9 an hour outside of London, a report has found.
A study by thinktank IPPR found that “chronic levels of job insecurity” and poor working conditions were damaging the quality of care.
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It found that one in four in social care are on a zero-hours contract, and the sector was struggling to recruit workers in a time of increasing demand.
It added that constraints on EU migration after Brexit could further “exacerbate the growing workforce crisis”.
Social care is described as a “vital service” by the IPPR, but currently requires no minimum training requirements for care workers.
'The most vulnerable'
Tess Lanning, the Director of the Living Wage Foundation said these social care workers provide a service to the "most vulnerable people in society".
“Care workers provide a vital service to some of the most vulnerable people in society," she said.
“Earning a wage that meets their basic needs is the very least they should be able to expect. And yet this report shows that over a million of them are struggling on low pay.
“Funding is a real challenge in the sector, but there are local authorities and care providers that have joined the network of nearly 5,000 Living Wage employers that further than the government minimum to ensure their staff are earning a real Living Wage.
“These employers tell us that they’ve seen an increase in staff retention and have found it easier to recruit as a result of this investment in staff."