In November we sent out a survey asking about sleep-in payments and how changes are affecting our members. Disabled people, family members and Personal Assistants/support workers responded.
Some people said their local authority would be reducing their sleep-in rate soon and had contacted them about it. This means that some people will be paid less than the national minimum wage for sleep in work.
Members in Lancashire have told us that their local authority has said their rate will change from the beginning of April from £ 94.20 /night to £47.43/night. Although this change will be phased in over 6 months it will result in staff being paid around half of what they had originally been paid.
Other people said their local authority hadn’t made any changes to their rate of pay, but they were very worried that they might in future.
Most people we spoke to were ‘very concerned’ about the about the legal implications of sleep-ins. Everyone we spoke to wanted to pay their staff the minimum wage for sleep-ins. People wanted to be a good employer and were worried about being breaking employment laws and rights as well as possibly having to pay back pay. People were concerned about how this would affect both personal budget holders, staff and smaller providers.
People were very concerned that changes to the rate of sleep in pay would have a negative impact on lots of people.
People are worried about:
- Not having a big enough personal budget to pay for support they need
- Losing good staff who had supported them for a long time
- Staff not feeling valued or appreciated
- Concerns about funding redundancies and back pay
- Not being able to recruit more staff
A self-advocate said:
“We would like a lot more Person Assistants & Staff back in Northamptonshire & The East Midlands with a lot more hours for me & Disabled People”
A family member said:
“We have very good staff retention and I try to be a good employer. There is a lot of liability stacked up and any claim would be time consuming and expensive.”
A Support Worker told us:
“As a support worker I feel I may be driven out of the care sector due to low income and if this happens across the whole sector the people we care about will not get the level of support and respect they deserve.”
We asked about where people are getting their information and support from about sleep ins. They got information from lots of different places including, other disabled people and families, providers, local authorities, social media and the news.
People thought that guidance and information weren’t very clear and sometimes was different depending on where it was from. They also found it difficult to find any easy read information.
Learning Disability England is part of the #SolveSleepIns Alliance. The Alliance has been campaigning to bring more attention to the issue of sleep ins and prompt a response from the government in,
- Clarifying its policy position on sleep ins
- Confirming employers won’t face unfair potential HMRC enforcement
- Communicating and working with everyone to make sure they understand how ‘sleep-in’ overnight care should be paid for and where any genuinely new money required for this will come from.
- Working with providers and local government on a sustainable funding solution for overnight care that will ensure care workers are valued and fairly paid.
Our last update included a letter to and response from MP Kelly Tolhurst. The letter recognised the current situation around sleep-ins as an issue. A key message being that the Department of Health and Social Care is telling local authorities and commissioners they should not be using the Court of Appeals judgement as a chance to radically change their fee-paying practices.
The survey is still open if you would like to share your experiences or opinions.