One of the key pledges in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government is to pay social care workers in Wales the Real Living Wage. Personal assistants, funded by a Direct Payment, are also included.  Last December, the Welsh Government announced that £43.2m of funding is being made available to local authorities and health boards to implement the Real Living Wage commitment from April 2022.


Rhondda Cynon Taf Council – Commitment to the Real Living Wage

Please note that this Council has made an enhanced commitment to pay its social care staff, including personal assistants, £10 per hour Real Living Wage. A letter has been sent to you advising you of your new rate, this enables you to now pay your staff at the £10 per hours Real Living Wage. You will also receive a backdated payment which will enable you to pay your staff at this rate from 4th April 2022.


What is the Real Living Wage?

The Real Living Wage is independently calculated by the Resolution Foundation in an annual process overseen by the Living Wage Commission. It is based on evidence about living standards in the UK. The Real Living Wage rate for the UK (excluding London) announced in November 2021, is £9.90 per hour. More information on the real Living Wage is available here:


What do direct payment recipients need to do and by when?

The funding is available from April 2022 therefore the expectation is that implementation of the uplift to the Real Living Wage rate of £9.90 should commence from this date.  However, we recognise that this is a significant new commitment and that there may be a transition period while the funding works its way through the system. 

As an employer receiving a direct payment, you can expect your direct payment support service to notify you about the updated hourly rate and when you can expect that will be included in your direct payment. We have also provided funding to ensure that wider costs can be met.  These include National Insurance contributions, employer pension contributions, and holiday pay.

Where there is a need to make backdated pay awards, employers (with the help of their direct payment support service) will need to discuss with their personal assistants how to apply these as lump sum payments.  This is to consider any impact on welfare benefits. 

Direct payment support services and payroll providers can expect to receive details of the updated costs in line with their existing relationships with their local authority or direct payment recipient.


How and when will personal assistants receive the pay uplift?

All personal assistants employed using a local authority direct payment, can expect to receive the Real Living Wage rate of £9.90 per hour from April 2022.  Employers should confirm the updated hourly rate and an indication of when you can expect to receive it.

If you don’t receive the uplift in your April wages, it will be backdated and paid as soon as possible.  Your employer, supported by their direct payment support service, will discuss how to apply any backdated awards as lump sum payments.  This is to consider any impact on your welfare benefits.


Who can I speak to if I have any further questions about the Real Living Wage uplift?

As a personal assistant funded by a direct payment, you should speak with your employer.

As an employer receiving a direct payment, you can speak to your direct payment support service.   


What if I’m currently receiving more than RLW?  Will I get an equivalent rise?

The Welsh Government’s commitment is that those workers in eligible roles should receive at least the Real Living Wage.  It is important that employers continue to recognise additional skills and experience people contribute.

The Welsh Government intends to work with stakeholders to use the evidence from Audit Wales and University of South Wales to support further improvements in support for personal assistants and direct payment recipients.

 Please click here for the Welsh version