here that more workers in this sector refrained from revealing their pay than in any other sector (11 non-respondents). A number of the workers interviewed in this sector used to work for the public sector and had been transferred into the private or not-for- profit sector with contracting out. This is reflected in the data as these workers had their Local Authority terms and conditions protected by TUPE. Over time, however, these better paid workers will be replaced by those on inferior terms and conditions of work.
The working week for care workers was slightly shorter than in other sectors, comprising over 16 hours and up to 35 hours for nearly one half of workers, although one third worked over 35 and up to 48 hours per week. Only 12% of care workers held second jobs, although the majority of those with another source of employment worked more than 16 hours per week on that job (80%), with most earning hourly rates above the Living Wage (i.e. £6.70h/hour).
Overall, employment conditions were slightly better than in other sectors, probably reflecting the shadow of TUPE. For example, nearly two-fifths (38.6%) of care workers had access to a company pension scheme compared with between 10% and 19% of workers in other sectors. Likewise, care workers were less likely than other workers to be penalised for taking time off work to attend to emergencies, even though 31% did report losing pay if not present at work. Rather surprisingly, over two-fifths of workers could not tell whether they received any other benefits from their employers. One quarter could take maternity leave, but another quarter reported no other benefits at all. One final difference was that 47% of workers reported receiving an annual pay rise, the highest proportion of workers to do so in all sectors.
In contrast to other sectors, care workers were far less likely to be able to find nothing positive to say about their work (only 4% of respondents). Rather than simply the opportunity to earn a wage (29%), the feature that people most liked about care work was the opportunity it provided to care for people (47%). Social contact was also mentioned as a positive feature of the work (14%).
In fact, when examining the aspects people disliked about their work important differences emerged between care workers and workers in other sectors. Whilst the latter tended to identify issues relating directly to their own pay and conditions, care workers tended to point to frustrations that came from not being able to properly fulfil their role as they wished. Such differences suggest, perhaps, that in contrast to other low paid workers, care workers can have a strong and positive attachment to their vocation and the clients they serve. Hence, whilst an important minority (13%) did mention employer's policies and practices as a negative feature of their work, more common was for people to point to the fact that ‘the centre [is] not recognised as a specialist centre’, or to ‘carers letting [patients] down’. Otherwise, workers were more discontented about the nature and demands of this type of work than about low pay or treatment by customers.