You may have read recently about the Care Industry’s Sleep-in Crisis. Most social care providers that use overnight workers have been facing a major issue because some have not been paying their staff the minimum wage for time at work covering sleep-in shifts. When a worker is on-call to provide social care assistance, but is allowed to sleep on-site when their services are not required, social care providers had previously only paid the minimum wage rate for the hours they were awake, on top of a flat rate of £25-£45 for the entire shift.
Referencing the National Minimum Wage regulations, workers were not paid the base rate for the hours they were asleep because the regulations seemed to support the providers, as did HMRC guidance. However, in the past few years, flat rates have been challenged in court by some overnight workers supported by their unions stating that not only should the minimum wage be paid across all the hours worked, but that workers should receive up to six years’ back pay too. This has been a major threat for many Social Care companies, many of whom use overnight workers, and no publicly accept that they must pay the minimum wage for time spent at work while asleep.
Here at Acorn Care, we faced an HMRC investigation because in our residential home, we do have colleagues who ‘sleep-in’ covering overnight shifts. However, we are proud to say that the case against us was closed when HMRC were satisfied that our pay and rewards structure was, and always has been, compliant.
Across our business, both fostering and residential, we acknowledge the importance of rewarding our team, recognising the key roles they play in delivering our service and valuing the contributions made. That’s because we know that when employees and their work are valued, they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work. Praise and recognition are essential to an outstanding workplace, and financial rewards and recognition play their part in this. As a responsible employer who puts children and young people at the heart of what we do, it’s important to us that we set a good example and try to do the ‘right’ thing by everyone. If you’d like to join us, get in touch today.