Failure to act will leave the sector balanced on brink of crisis. 

Reacting to today’s decision to further delay suspension of minimum wage enforcement concerning sleep-in shifts in the social care sector

Tim Cooper, co-chair of Learning Disability Voices and CEO of disability charity provider United Response, said:

“Government has again fudged a decision on financial support for learning disability providers to pay back pay to care workers for sleep in shifts.

“Worryingly the Government has opened the door to resuming the HMRC enforcement action against employers within the next five weeks.

“Many of the employers in question are charities or individuals with a learning disability who simply do not have the estimated £400m which will be required to fund the back pay.

“Government has delayed any decision on funding employers to enable them to make the payments, and has said they must explore state aid rules with Brussels.

“The risk is that charities will be forced to make these payments with no guarantee of financial support from the Government. This will put the financial viability of the sector at serious risk.

“The simplest and most efficient way for workers to get the back pay they are owed is for Government to administer this fund - where Government, care providers and trade unions would encourage workers eligible workers to apply. We need a solution now. The future of the care sector is at stake.

“Government has kicked the can down the road again. The sector has operated strictly in accordance with the Government’s own guidance on its own legislation and delivered a good service to Local Authority commissioners – it deserves better. The learning disability sector remains on the brink of crisis and the inability of many Local Authorities to let or renew care contracts is about to get a whole lot worse. 

“We do recognise the complexity of these issues  and remain keen to work with Government to find solutions to these issues but it is important that Government recognises the need for resolving how HMRC enforces workers' rights and funding of the back pay must be dealt with hand in hand.”

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