Sleep-Ins Update

LDE wrote a plain English briefing on sleep-ins and National Minimum Wage back in July. You can read that briefing here.

The government has just made a new announcement about sleep-ins and National Minimum Wage. We think it is important to share this news with our members.

People working in social care have been waiting for the government to come up with a solution to the problem of back-pay for sleep-in shifts.

What the government has decided to do is to launch a new compliance scheme for social care providers.

The scheme is called the Social Care Compliance Scheme.

Employers who sign up to the Social Care Compliance Scheme will have to work out how much money they owe people who have worked sleep-in shifts.

Once they’ve done that they will then have up to 3 months to pay their workers.

If an employer doesn’t opt in to the scheme, HM Revenue and Customs (the part of the government that deals with tax) will take action against them.

At LDE we believe that support workers should be paid a better wage for the important work that they do. We need a long term plan for this that doesn’t put people’s support at risk.

We know from our members that the problem with the sleep-in issue has always been that organisations don’t know how they will back pay the money the government is expecting them to.

This hasn’t just been a problem for organisations, but also individuals and families who have Personal Budgets. These people have often been left out of the discussion about sleep-ins.

LDE believes that if you understand the problem, it is clear that what the government has proposed is not really a solution.

The government has given employers time to pay the money back but this is not helpful if employers don’t have this money.

This bad news comes just after we heard some good news about supported housing on 31st October.

It feels like the government is sending mixed messages to the social care sector as they seemed to have listened to us about supported housing, but not about sleep-ins.

We suspect that the government’s failure to solve the sleep-in crisis could have an effect on housing. If social care providers are destabilized, it might be that the housing sector will be too.

We don’t want to see the government’s good proposals about supported housing be undermined.

LDE believes that the government must work with providers, workers and Personal Budget-holders to come up with a real solution to this problem. Working together is the only way forwards.

Lorna Ely, LDE Self-Advocate Representative, said: 

“I strongly think that social care workers need to have their say about sleep ins, and they need to be treated more fairly. The government needs to think that social care workers do have families of there own to attend to. I think employer’s need a scheme that works for the many not a few.”

Lucy Burke, LDE Family Representative, said:

“I think that the problem we face is a massive failure of joined up thinking that puts everyone in an impossible situation. We need care to be valued and for carers to be properly recompensed financially for their work, we need people with additional needs to receive the high quality care packages that they deserve, and we need financial sustainability for care providers many of whom are increasingly vulnerable in financial terms due to a range of pressures. We need the government to address these issues  head-on in a meaningful way.”

Alicia Wood, LDE Organisations Representative, said: 

“The response to the issue of sleep-in payments from the government feels like a delay rather than a solution. Support workers must feel very undervalued by this response and support providers that based support packages on the fact that overnight support will cost less will be worried about this response. I am particularly concerned for people who manage personal budgets and smaller and medium providers without the means to pay years of back pay. The real issue of course is how social care is funded and the sleep-in issue is symptomatic of a sector that has to bargain not to pay properly for one of the most responsible roles in our society, when we ought to be focussing on paying support workers properly for the work they do. To achieve this we need much greater investment in social care.”