Many members will be aware of the ongoing work with government to address the issue of Sleep Ins. Yesterday, the government announced how it plans to address the issue, following extensive lobbying and engagement with the sector. The link to the overarching announcement can be found here.
There are a number of key documents for you to review in relation to this and a number of explicit changes that it is important to take on board. This bulletin is intended for your information, and drawn from the government documents. Our partners Anthony Collins have produced a more detailed briefing which can be viewed here.
Introduction of a new scheme entitled Social Care Compliance. The scheme is a self-review scheme, and the guidance states that if you join the scheme and declare any underpayment then you won’t have to pay the financial penalty – which is currently upto 200% of the amount you owe any worker, upto a maximum of £20K per worker. In addition, you won’t be publicly named for underpayment. If there has been a complaint by a worker against your organisation in relation to underpayment then organisations will also be contacted directly by HMRC to join the Social Care Compliance scheme. The guidance suggests that HMRC will accept employers into the social care compliance scheme if they meet the eligibility criteria and then provide them with a period of 12 months to complete a self-review – then a further three months to pay arrears for sleep in shifts. Although do note that whenever you join the scheme, the latest date for back payment of workers is the 31st March 2019.
Reinstatement of enforcement action for those who are not part of the scheme – If you do not choose to join the scheme the announcement states that there will be no further concessions and organisations will be subject to the full HMRC investigation process (whilst recognising previous announcements about exempting from prosecution sleeping time arrears generated pre July 26 2017)
No explicit support for underpayment – the current guidance provides no suggestion that local or national government will play any part in funding any eligible back pay. However, a note that further investigation with the European Commission is ongoing, and there is recognition of the pressure and liabilities on providers.
If members have particular questions or concerns about this information, then please do contact me or Sharon at NCF and we will ensure that they are raised. More information about the scheme, and further briefings will be shared as they become available.