Belsize Village, Hampstead, London, UK: This morning, Penrose Care’s managing director, Robert Stephenson-Padron, presented evidence to the House of Commons Women & Equalities Committee inquiry on the gender pay gap. Mr. Stephenson-Padron was joined by a handful of Penrose Care workers who sat in on the evidence session as guest.
Penrose Care, as an ethical innovator in England’s home care sector, where c86%  of the workforce is female, has unique insights into the structural challenges facing the home care workforce, which are as a result, structural contributors to gender inequality in the UK.
Penrose Care managing director, Robert Stephenson-Padron said:
“Due to the high-proportion of women working in the UK’s social care sector, structurally low pay in the sector contributes to gender inequality figures nation-wide. Specifically within home care, where nearly 90% of England’s 650,000 workforce is female, we are especially concerned with high levels of non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage in the home care sector. Improving working conditions in social care are pro-women policies, they are moral policies. Policies that would reduce gender inequality nationally as well as drive up care quality for the most vulnerable in our society.”
The National Audit Office in March 2014 released a report finding that 160,000 to 220,000 direct care workers in the UK are paid below the national minimum wage “due to deductions for uniforms or due to travel time between visits”. The current national minimum wage is £6.70/hour for persons 21 and over. Mr. Padron as a result highlighted to the Women & Equalities Committee of both the need to step up enforcement of the National Minimum Wage, as well as pursuing policies that improve the financial viability of the social care sector as a whole so that it can meet its legal obligations.
Mr. Padron also supported policies that would improve the training of home care workers, especially if able to open up more value-added services that can be offered by home care workers in order to achieve higher wages which can help develop job progression while keeping good care workers in the frontline, where actual care services are provided. Mr. Padron highlighted its recent work with the UK Commission for Employment & Skills (UKCES) on efforts to add value-added skills to home care workers. 
As the UK’s ageing population is a society-wide challenge, Mr. Padron noted that improving the financial viability of the social care sector and improving working conditions for its mostly female workforce, requires society-wide solutions, not just from government. Mr. Padron recommended that the committee explore ways in which to incentivise organisations to offer elder care vouchers to their employees similar to how many organisations offer child care vouchers in flexible benefits packages. 
 An Overview of the Domiciliary Care Market (UK Home Care Association, 2015), pg 35, available online: http://www.ukhca.co.uk/pdfs/DomiciliaryCareMarketOverview2015.pdf
 Adult social care in England: overview (National Audit Office: 13 Mar 2014), pg42, available here: http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Adult-social-care-in-England-overview.pdf
 National minimum wage rates (Gov.UK, accessed 12 January 2016), available here: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
 Learner, Sue, “Innovative training scheme for home care workers axed after Chancellor cancels funding.”: 22 Nov 2015 (Homecare.co.uk), available here: http://www.homecare.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1573022/training-scheme-home-care-axed
 Bomford, Andrew, “Will eldercare be as common as childcare?”: 3 Mar 2014 (BBC News), available online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26341378
A recording of the hearing can be found at the following link (fast forward to 1:07:00 of the video): http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/c52c0ae5-3ac1-46fc-8f15-2b539ab8c17e
0207 435 2644
House of Commons Women & Equalities Commitee
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About Penrose Care
Penrose Care is an ethical provider of home care services London, United Kingdom to adults with disabilities and elderly persons, including those with dementia. The company operates upon a fundamental belief that to promote a caring workforce, the organisation itself must be caring. As the pioneer of ethics in home care in the UK, Penrose Care in 2012 became one of the first four providers in the country to become an Accredited Living Wage Employer and in 2013 the first independent sector provider to be compliant with Citizens UK’s landmark Social Care Charter.
Penrose Care’s ethical approach promotes higher quality social care workers and low staff turnover which in turn results in excellent care. Penrose Care is headquartered in Belsize Village, north London and was founded by Robert Stephenson-Padron, a healthcare research analyst, and Dr. Matthew Knight, a hospital consultant physician.