Dozens of leading charities are possibly facing insolvency after the Government change guidance regarding night-time carers pay and, back pay for them is demanded.

In October 2016, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) changed the guidance regarding overnight carers pay. The change meant that instead of organisations being required to pay a flat rate allowance to the carers of £25 or £35 to cover the period they were asleep, to organisations having to pay the carers minimum wage throughout the shift. This meant the cost of an overnight carers shift would increase to £60 a night.

Whilst most of the affected organisations agreed with this change, it is the most recent development which has placed them in a nightmare situation.

The Governement is now demanding that the charities provide back-pay to its over-night carers. This could involve 6 years of back-pay, totaling a £400 million bill. This unexpected bill has raised fear within the organisations, as they will struggle to cover the costs and therefore, vulnerable people could lose the ‘vital care’ they provide.

Derek Lewis, chairman of the Royal Mencap Society, said “Sleep-ins are widely used in the learning disability sector to provide care for some of our most vulnerable adults, in their own homes in the communities they live in.”

He continued by stating that, “The carer is only there ‘just in case’ to provide safety and reassurance and is rarely disturbed. Recent research which looked at the last three years showed that 99.7% of carers slept peacefully. The unintended consequences have been disastrous as HMRC have begun enforcement action demanding six years’ back pay.”

The charities and companies involved, especially the smaller organisations, are now facing possible insolvencies as they cannot afford to pay the giant bill – they are calling on HMRC to re-think the situation before the vulnerable people they care for are the ones that suffer.

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