Lots of people are talking about sleep-ins and the National Minimum Wage at the moment. It is a very complicated issue.
We have written this plain English statement for our members.
Learning Disability England knows that support workers do incredibly important work.
We know the country couldn’t manage without support workers and so we think that paying them more for this important job is right.
If support workers are awake they should be paid the national living wage.
We don’t think that paying support workers who are sleeping the same as support workers who are awake is the right way to achieve better income for support workers.
The rules about how sleep-ins are paid for were different when providers and people with personal budgets planned the money they needed for support.
The rules have been changed because of an employment tribunal.
An employment tribunal is an independent body that solves disagreements between employers and employees.
In this employment tribunal, a support worker said they should be paid the National Minimum Wage for sleep in support.
The support worker won the tribunal and now the government has said that these rules should be the same for everyone who does sleep in support.
Employers now have to pay money they did not agree to pay in the first place. This is making it very difficult for some employers because they are now paying more money for support.
Some employers are also being told to back-pay this extra money for the last 3 – 6 years.
LDE thinks that there are solutions to these problems but that making employers pay money they don’t have is not helping.
It also puts support at risk for the many people with learning disabilities who have sleep-in support.
We have been supporting the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) who are working with providers to find good solutions to this problem.
We urge the government to stop the action they are taking against employers because it is creating hardship and risking support for people with learning disabilities.
We ask the government departments, Department of Health, HMRC and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to sit around the table with the people whose support is at risk and the employers that make sure they get the support we need, and come up with a solution urgently.
It is wrong and unnecessary to create so much uncertainty and fear for people who need social care, their families and the organisations that support them.
LDE thinks that the problems around sleep-ins are a sign of the crisis in social care right now. We need long term solutions to our problems, long term funding plans from the government and we need change to be led by people who use social care and their families.