The trade union, Community, has partnered with the National Association of Care & Support Workers (NACAS) to launch the inaugural Professional Care Workers’ Day on Tuesday 4th September. The day will celebrate the work of professional care workers and provide them an opportunity to come together in demand of a better deal for their profession.
The day comes as new research shows that almost two thirds of professional care workers believe their work is impacting on their mental health. A report commissioned by NACAS has found that 62% of care workers believe issues relating to their work have had a negative impact on their own mental health, even though most do enjoy their job. Most care workers surveyed did not believe that their employers would support them in a difficult situation or that the employers or society regards them as professionals. A lack of proper breaks, low pay, and unsocial shift patterns, were also recognised as contributing factors.
In the face of the growing social care crisis, NACAS and Community have called on the government to bring forward a national strategy to support professional care workers, set national employment and regulatory standards, and provide better and transferable training similar to other professions such as nursing and teaching.
The inaugural Professional Care Workers’ Day will be marked with a launch event in Westminster, with front-line care workers and stakeholders from across the industry in attendance.
Speaking ahead of the event, Karolina Gerlich, founding director of NACAS, said:
“This research should be a wakeup call for politicians and the care industry. Care workers play such an important role in our communities, but too often their mental health is suffering because of the conditions in which they have to work and how wider society perceives and treats them. For too long, the care industry has relied on casual labour with little national oversight. It is time to recognise care work as a profession, with registration, proper contracts, better quality and standardised training, and decent pay. This report sets out how the industry could move in this direction and we hope to work in partnership with the government and others to achieve this vision. We want everybody to join in in the Professional Care Workers’ Day to show respect and recognition to care workers for all of their hard work.”
Les Bayliss, National Officer for the Community trade union, said:
“The social care industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, but rather than driving standards up, this is actually having a negative impact on the workforce. Community has been organising care workers for years, and we are delighted to recognise the contribution they make to our society with the first ever Professional Care Workers’ Day. This profession should be seen as a good career choice for young people, but that will only happen if government recognise the need to set national standards with accredited qualifications that give care workers the status and reward they deserve.”