National Living Wage rise cuts carer work opportunities

2 mins read

Wednesday 3 April 2024

This Monday 1 April 2024, the National Living Wage rose from £10.42 to £11.44 (£13.15 in London).

While this is good news for some earners, yet again we are forced to raise concerns that more carers will be forced out of work as a consequence of the government failing to adjust other parts of the benefit system.

The maximum amount a carer can earn while claiming Carer’s Allowance – a vital support package for unpaid carers – goes up to £151 a week. That’s a maximum of 13 hours on the National Living Wage. In 2021, carers could work 14 hours a week, and in 2016, 15 hours. This represents a continual chipping away of parent carers’ opportunities to get back into the labour market.

The earnings limit of £151 is far too low for a carer working 16 hours a week on National Living Wage, who will now take home £183.04 a week. But someone must work a minimum 16 hours to be eligible for Working Tax Credit. A carer will lose this support unless they can make certain deductions from their income.

We are calling on the government to adjust the Carer’s Allowance earnings limit at the earliest opportunity to at least £183.04 or to scrap the limit altogether to allow unpaid carers who want to work the full means to do so.