Impact of pay rises for sleep-in shifts


Last October, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published guidance saying overnight “sleep-in” workers must be paid the minimum wage for the whole time they are at their place of work even if they are asleep. Critics commented at the time that this would create problems for charities in the future, because many government contracts do not cover the cost of paying these carers.

In addition to changing these payment terms, the BEIS also said workers would be able to claim up to six years of back pay for sleep in shift. This is estimated to cost charities up to £400m.

HMRC had begun enforcement action to obtain back pay from charities, but the government has halted enforcement until 2 October. Charities are hoping to reach an agreement with ministers over the payment of this bill before that date. The sector is lobbying for government to meet some or all of that bill.

Mencap has revealed that it is facing an estimated back pay liability is £20m, which exceeds its financial reserves of £19.6m. Mencap chairman Derek Lewis said it would require the organisation to “sell assets, cut programmes and cancel investment”.

Does your social care organisation employ workers over night? Have you been affected by this change in the law? We want to hear about your experience. Comment below or contact us via email [email protected]