Sign-up and pay, or perhaps pay more
By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON
There are powerful arguments why carers working at night in small specialist care facilities should be paid their full hourly rate, even if they spend much of the shift asleep. But there is a strong economic argument why ‘sleep-in’ shifts should be paid at a flat rate of £35-£45, with only that time spent delivering care being paid for at an hourly rate.
Until recently the latter argument has prevailed, but now the employment tribunals and the unions have insisted that the workers must be paid the hourly rate and this should be back-dated.
Care providers howled that they couldn’t afford it at the current rates of funding and that back-dated payments could cost the sector as much as £400m.
Government has responded in some measure to providers’ concerns, suspending enforcement action against them and waiving at least some part of any historic liability. It has also set up a new Social Care Compliance Scheme for social care providers who may have incorrectly paid workers below legal minimum wage hourly rates for sleep-in shifts.
Social care employers can opt into the scheme, giving them up to a year to identify what they owe to workers, supported by advice from HM Revenue and Customs. Employers who identify arrears at the end of the self-review period will have up to three months to pay workers.
On the face of it, this looks like little more than a stay of execution, and participating providers are more or less committing themselves to an unknown financial liability.
They’re not happy and I don’t blame them.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.