The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced the suspension of financial penalties for employers who have under paid workers for ‘sleep-in shifts’.
The Government announced yesterday it was waiving all financial penalties for employers who have underpaid their workers for ‘sleep-in’ shifts before 26 July 2017.
HM Revenue & Customs enforcement action concerning payment of sleep-in shifts by social care providers has been suspended until 2 October 2017.
The Government said it recognised the “cumulative financial liability of penalties and wages could pose significant challenges to the social care sector”.
It added: “In extreme circumstances, providers may be unable to meet their obligations to repay their workers.”
The move was given a qualified welcome by Care England, the largest representative body for providers of adult social care.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “Whilst I am pleased that HMRC will not be pursuing care providers for sleep-in payments this is only part of the problem.
“Providers may be required to pay years of back pay to staff who have worked sleep-ins and it is therefore imperative that the Government works with the sector to fathom a long term solution.
“There needs to be absolute clarity that public sector commissioners will have to fund the cost of sleep ins at the National Minimum Wage going forward.
“This issue affects a range of independent providers including charities. Commissioners and providers need to sit down together to discuss the sufficiency of an individual’s care package, rather than this being set as part of an arbitrary standard price.
“In order to provide the best quality care it is essential that providers can budget and plan for the short, medium and long term and this has to be done alongside commissioners.”