The Covid-19 pandemic has heavily impacted social service provision all across Europe, including Great Britain. While much research has been carried out on the effects on the health of care recipients and how continuity of service was ensured, we have less information regarding the experience of the workforce employed in the social sector. To bridge this knowledge gap, between July and August 2020 the Personal Social Services Research Unit of the University of Kent carried out a survey to discover if and how people working in the social sector in Britain were affected by Covid-19 and its consequences, such as social distancing, at work.
What emerged is that a high percentage of interviewees reported increased workloads and stress levels and less safety at work. 56% of respondents worked more hours; 52% had to self-isolate or momentarily stop working at some point- 1/6 of whom were not paid at all during such forced breaks. This exacerbated and brought to light another issue related to the social care sector: the low wages perceived by social workers.
Such results highlight the urgent need for action to adequately protect social care workers and ensure they can do their job in the best conditions possible. The recommendations mentioned in the report are:
- The need to develop a set of strategies to practically support and guide care workers on the workplace.
- Ensuring that personal protective equipment is always available in adequate quantities, along with the possibilty for social workers to be tested for Covid-19 as many times as it is necessary.