Councils have been urged to access short-term funding from the Government to boost the pay of social care workers.
UNISON has written to more than 16,500 councillors in England urging them to ensure fontline workers benefit from a share of the £462.5m workforce retention and recruitment fund.
The fund was announced by the Government last December to enable local authorities to bring forward planned pay rises for care staff and pay for bonuses and overtime.
UNISON general secretary, Christina McAnea, said: 'This is all too little, too late, but it's still crucial the money gets to care workers. Local authorities have the power to make this happen if councillors step up and do the right thing.
'Billions more are needed to get the care sector out of the crisis it’s facing. Paying staff a proper wage is a top priority to attract recruits and stop the exodus of existing staff.'
The letter from the trade union warns funding of this nature doesn't always reach the pay packets of frontline staff.
The union's previous research showed only a third of care staff isolating or off sick with COVID last year received full sick pay despite employers having access to the infection control fund.