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Estimating probabilities and numbers of direct care workers paid under the National Minimum Wage in the UK: A Bayesian approach

SCWP Issue 16: December 2011

Issue 16 of the Social Care Workforce Periodical estimates that the prevalence and number of direct care workers being paid under the National Minimum Wage (NMW) are much larger than previously believed. Using a Bayesian approach to combine new analysis derived from the Longitudinal Care Study, conducted by King’s College London, the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care and previously published estimates by the Low Pay Commission, the analysis indicates that from 9 to 13 percent, or 156,673 to 219,241, of direct care workers in the UK are likely to be being paid under the NMW.

Download SCWP Issue 16: December 2011 (pdf,  2.9 MB) ISSN 2047-9638

Response from the Department of Health (pdf, 13 KB)

Related publications

HM Revenue & Customs (November 2013) National Minimum Wage compliance in the social care sector. An evaluation of National Minimum Wage enforcement in the social care sector over the period 1st April 2011 to 31st March 2013. (And see Unit news item, 9 December 2013)

Hull, A. (2013) 'Settle for nothing less: enhancing national minimum wage compliance and enforcement', London: Centre for London.


Donovan, T. (2014) 'Home care contracts should enforce minimum wage, Labour review told', Community Care, 6 March.

BBC Radio 5 live ‘5 live Investigates’ 24 November 2013. See SCWRU news item.

BBC Newsnight: Report on pay in the sector, 28 August 2013

Community Care'Social care employers who fail to pay the minimum wage will be named and shamed from October' (27 August 2013)

BBC Newsnight: Report on quality of care in the sector, 13 June 2013.

The Guardian: ‘How private care firms have got away with breaking the law on pay’ (Randeep Ramesh, 13 June 2013)

Wakefield, H. (2012) 'Who cares about care workers? [blog post]'. Public Finance Opinion/blog, 8 October.

Daily Mirror (online): 'Below minimum wage for care workers the "new normal"' (N. Sommerlad, 19 April 2012)

The Guardian: 'Minimum wage is least care workers deserve', (Gavin Kelly, 18 April 2012)

New Statesman: 'The scandal of low-paid care workers' (blog post by Gavin Kelly and Joe Coward, 22 December 2011)

BBC Panorama: ‘All work and low pay’, 3 October 2011 (programme available on iPlayer for a year from date of last broadcast, 9 October 2011. Programme segment focusing on social care, including an interview with Dr Hussein, is at 16min 28sec)

BBC Panorama: ‘Thousands of care workers paid under legal limit’ (online article, 2 October 2011)

The Guardian: ‘150,000 social care workers paid below legal minimum wage, research reveals’ (3 October 2011)

Community Care: ‘Up to 200,000 care assistants paid below minimum rate’ (3 October 2011)

Associated work

Analysis of pay levels and differentials are discussed in Issue 6 and Issue 7 of the Social Care Workforce Periodical.

See also

Hussein, S. (2012) 'Pay differentials in the low paid employment of social care' [pdf, 1.5 MB], Low Pay Commission Annual Research Workshop, London, 10 October.

Hussein, S. & Manthorpe, J. (2012) 'Combining knowledge to estimate the percentage of care workers paid under the national minimum wage in the UK: a Bayesian approach' [pdf, 570 KB], Royal Statistical Society 2012 International Conference, Telford, 4 September.

Hussein, S. (2012) ‘Senior Research Fellow Dr Shereen Hussein responds to current debates on wages, migrant workers and the care sector in England [SCWRU news item]’, 22 June.

Hussein, S. (2012) 'National Minimum Wage and the social care sector' [pdf, 1.06 MB], Resolution Foundation, London, 27 March.

Hussein, S. (2012) 'The scale of very low-pay for care workers is much larger than previously anticipated and demands immediate attention [blog post]', British Politics and Policy at LSE, 17 January.

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