As you are aware, last week, the Government launched a new voluntary sleep-in compliance scheme for social care providers offering an opportunity to self-review, identify historical liabilities, and rectify within a 15-month period, in order to become compliant. Care sector ‘sleep in’ shifts are delivered to people with learning disabilities and other complex needs requiring care at all times. Recent changes to the application of the National Living Wage could leave providers liable for up to six years of back payments.
There is little information available at this stage about the course of action providers can take, but we do know that the scheme for which arrears must be paid to workers runs until March 2019. HMRC is writing to social care employers who currently have a complaint against them for allegedly underpaying minimum wage rates for sleep-in shifts to encourage them to sign up to the scheme. Employers that choose not to opt into the scheme will be subject to HMRC’s normal enforcement approach. We know that some organisations have started receiving letters demanding a telephone call and a decision deadline on whether to join the scheme.
In our work, we continue to emphasise the financial impact this will have on organisations and how the sustainability of the sector can be ensured. Providers such as yourselves will be affected with some having to close their services, but the fact remains that with such vague information available, the decision about what action to take is huge for organisations.
Many questions surround the changes, the scheme and whether members should opt-in, and The Association will come back to members as information becomes available. If you have any questions and/or concerns, please get in touch.
The Association has been compiling information and we are working with other representative bodies to ensure the sleep-in crisis is resolved. Several members have already been in contact with us to share the impact the proposed sleep in payment changes will have on their organisations and if you would also like to contribute, please send your responses to the following questions to Kathy.
- What will the economic impact of payment changes be for your organisation? (per year/overall cost over six years)
- Have you received a letter from HMRC?
- If you’ve received a letter, what type of service do you provide?