UNI affiliate the GMB union has won statutory sick pay for 19,000 care workers at HC-One, the UK’s largest care home provider. Announced on 22 March 2024, this new agreement guarantees pay from the first day of absence and addresses the issue of care workers forced to work when unwell, risking the spread of infections among the older adult residents they serve.

Previously, the company did not pay for the first three days of sickness. The UK government stopped providing day one sick pay in May 2023, a measure introduced as a COVID-19 containment strategy.

The need for this change was clear. A recent GMB survey revealed that one in four HC-One care workers were contemplating leaving their jobs because of “poverty pay.”

Natalie Grayson, GMB National Officer, said:

“For anyone worker to take a financial hit because they are poorly is disgraceful.

“But for the care sector, it’s sickening – and worse, it’s dangerous to our loved ones that we expect them to care for.

“Day one sick pay is the very least care sector workers deserve – yet across the UK carers are forced to survive without out.

“This is a massive win for GMB members – it represents a landmark shift in culture for the entire care sector.

“But GMB won’t stop here: we will not stop fighting until these dedicated professionals are paid at least £15 an hour.”

This victory is an important step in a broader “Fight for 15” campaign led by GMB to secure a minimum wage of £15 per hour for care sector professionals. It shows that change can happen through collective action.

“Not having day one sick leave means that too many workers will have to choose between what’s best for their health – and the health of those they care for – and being able to pay their bills. We congratulate the HC-One workers and the GMB on this win, and we will keep standing with you in solidarity as you push to improve conditions in the UK care system,” said Alan Sable, Head of UNI Global Union’s Care sector.




UNI Europa