Disability Charity Mencap Warns Vulnerable People Could Lose Overnight Care
26 July 2017

Since here at Primo Associates we recruit for a variety of healthcare roles, including nursing and support work, we decided to weigh in on recent news that disabled people could be at risk of losing overnight care, due to disagreements around pay.

The HMRC has ruled that carers staying overnight with vulnerable people and those with learning difficulties should be paid the national minimum wage for all hours worked on sleep in shifts, since although they are permitted to sleep, they are still charged with the reassurance and safety of disabled and special needs people, should an incident occur, and are therefore under working conditions. According to minimum wage legislation, care workers on over night shifts should be entitled to fair pay since they are at their workplace.

Disabled charity Mencap says this means that back pay of up to a whopping £400m is due for carers who carry out sleep in shifts, with monies owed from up to six years ago, meaning small charities like theirs in the UK could be at risk of being shut down.

The charity was previously paying care workers £29.05 for a nine-hour-sleep-in-shift, with Derek Lewis, Chairman of Mencap claiming that this fee is due to the fact that carers are “rarely disturbed”.  Mencap lost an appeal against such low wages, but plans on appealing again next year.

On one hand, workers are unlikely to have their sleep interrupted, so if they are asleep, should they be paid for work that may not equate to what the minimum wage covers? However, carers are still in work related conditions, experiencing the same restrictions and responsibilities as a desk job, but executing them in different circumstances. Unison has deemed that this row is a result of the government’s inability to properly prioritize funding for the social care sector.

What are your thoughts on this dilemma? Let us know what you think of discussions around national minimum wage, how this will impact charities and what we can do to rectify theses issues. Join the chat on Facebook and Twitter or if you’re looking for a role with excellent pay in healthcare, head over to our current vacancies.