Posted by Pip Galland, Solicitor
Government softens its position on sleep-in shifts
In an eventful week for UK employment law, the Government’s press release on sleep-in shift pay in the social care sector comes hot on the heels of Tribunal fees being scrapped. This announcement marks a significant step to protect the viability and sustainability of the social care sector.
At quarter past midnight on 26 July 2017, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy announced that it had temporarily suspended HMRC enforcement activity and won’t be seeking historic financial penalties against employers for sleep-in shift pay.
Care workers were previously paid a flat-rate allowance of around £35 per sleep-in shift, in order to provide on-site and on-call care. However, a recent Employment Tribunal ruled that sleep-in shifts were ‘working time’ and subject to the National Minimum Wage/Living Wage
What does this week’s announcement mean for social care providers?
• The Government will not pursue financial penalties owed by employers who have underpaid their workers for sleep-in shifts before 26 July 2017.
• HMRC will delay its enforcement activity for payment of sleep-in shifts until 2 October 2017.
While the Government has confirmed that it remains committed to making sure care workers in the sector receive the national National Minimum Wage, this announcement demonstrates that the stability of the sector and the long-term viability of providers is also a priority.
Our Social Care team will keep an eye on further announcements, which are likely to follow from HMRC after 2 October 2017, and will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
For advice on effective management of staff in the heavily regulated care sector, please contact Pip Galland
01225 730 208 Email us
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