Wirral council is committing millions of pounds to ensure care workers on the frontline of dealing with the coronavirus are better paid.
The authority is using part of the extra Government funding for tackling coronavirus to help bring care sector workers up to the Real Living Wage.
The decision was made and agreed by leaders of all political groups on Wirral Council.
Calculated independently from Government, the real living wage was devised by the Living Wage Foundation. It is a voluntary scheme based on costs such as food, clothing and household bills and is currently £9.30 an hour for those working outside London.
It is estimated that one in five workers in the UK earn below the Living Wage Foundation rate.
The scheme is separate to the statutory National Living Wage, which is the legally-binding hourly rate.
The aim is to help the care sector retain and recruit staff who each day are on the frontline of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The contracts with the care providers will be updated to ensure the additional funding is passed on to frontline staff.
Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Pat Hackett, said: “This move was unanimously agreed by all group leaders on the council and shows our joint commitment to helping those on the frontline of tackling coronavirus.
“This is about supporting our care sector workers at a time when we need them more than ever. Care workers are, day in and day out, helping and protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.
“The Government is providing additional funding to local authorities to help us through this crisis and it is only right that we use it in this way to support our frontline workers in recognition of the importance of their role.
“I hope this will go some way to showing our gratitude to those working in the care sector.”
The funding totalling £2.9 million will allow for a six month increase to the care sector, including care home operators, to help them boost the wages of their staff.
This follows a one-off payment to care homes in Wirral of £200 per council placement to help them with additional costs of cleaning products and higher prices for food.