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Overnight carer back pay scheme 'unaffordable'

From BBC - November 2, 2017

Care providers have dismissed a government scheme to tackle a problem over back pay for overnight shift staff, as a "suicide note".

The charity Mencap said the government was sacrificing the wellbeing of the most vulnerable in society and putting the jobs of low-paid staff at risk.

Ministers said the scheme had been designed to help ensure workers were paid what they were owed.

But charities say the bill for six years of extra pay is unaffordable.

The Department for Business (BEIS) said it was introducing a new compliance scheme for social-care providers that might in the past have incorrectly paid workers who stayed overnight for sleep-in shifts below the legal minimum wage.

The row developed when Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said it would pursue employers for six years' worth of back pay, totalling 400m.

It said workers were owed the minimum wage for every hour of an overnight stay at residential care homes.

Previously employers had been given the all-clear by the government to pay sleep-in staff a flat rate of about 30.

The minimum wage each hour would take that pay up to about 60.

Services cut-back

Mencap, which runs residential housing units for people with serious learning disabilities, and most other providers of care to vulnerable people, have started paying the legal minimum wage to sleep-in staff, but they say the bill for six years of back pay is unaffordable.

No reassurance

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