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Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler
Home Care Assistants

Carers to have national living wage guaranteed for first time alongside pay for travel time

Minister Donnelly said the new higher rate will help maintain service delivery and reduce waiting times for home support.

STATE-FUNDED HOME carers will be paid for the time it takes to travel between patients for the first time and will be guaranteed the national living wage under measures confirmed today by the Department of Health.

Introduced by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler, the move comes as a bid to address recruitment and retention problems in the sector. 

It was originally hoped that the new HSE home support tender for private and voluntary providers, announced today, would be delivered by April of this year.

The changes will be applicable to all state-funded home support delivered by the HSE and by service providers in the community, voluntary, and private sectors. 

Home support services that are not provided directly by the HSE are procured through a tender process. 

Today’s move means that a new tender process will be in place by August, but as an interim measure, the HSE has offered to pay the new scheme rates from July 1 for all currently contracted home support service providers that agree to the terms of the scheme. 

The changes come on the back of recommendations from the cross-departmental Strategic Workforce Advisory Group on Home Carers and Nursing Home Health Care Assistants. 

Released in November last year, the report recommended that all private-sector and voluntary providers should commit to paying home-support workers and healthcare assistants a minimum wage of €12.90 an hour as well as travel expenses.

At the time, Minister Butler announced that employment permits for 1,000 home care workers were to be made available in an effort to address the national recruitment crisis in the sector.

Minister Donnelly said the new higher rate will help maintain service delivery and reduce waiting times for home support.

Minister Butler added that the revised rate will help make caring a more viable career option. 

“Home support is an increasingly important part of the supports we offer to older people to age in place in their communities.

“I am fully committed to doing everything possible to support older people to continue living at home with dignity and independence with the correct wraparound supports,” she said. 

In order to offer this increased rate to home support providers, the Department of Health has adjusted its targets in the National Service Plan 2023 for the provision of 23.9 million hours of home support, to a revised target of 22 million hours.


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