William Eichler 08 May 2018

Sleep-in care crisis threatens 70% of the care sector

The viability of nearly 70% of the care sector is at risk from the unresolved sleep-in care crisis, a new survey has revealed.

Conducted by Agenda Consulting and Towers & Hamlins LLP, the poll found the sleep-in back pay bill will make the majority of care providers unviable.

A tribunal last year ruled that support workers who do sleep-in shifts should be paid the hourly minimum wage for the periods they are asleep.

Providers should also pay their carers six years of back pay, the tribunal decided. It is estimated this would amount to a £400m bill for the sector.

The poll revealed 68% of the care providers surveyed said their organisation would be unviable if they were required to pay six years of back pay.

Around 34% said this would be the case if it was only two years worth of back pay.

The survey also discovered that only 6% of providers have budgeted for back pay liability, and 22% said they would have to sell properties to cover the shortfall.

‘The findings of this survey are extremely worrying, if not unexpected,’ said Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Community Wellbeing Board.

‘The continued absence of new funding to cover historic, current and future sleep-in payments, remains a huge financial risk to social care providers and councils, and is causing continuing uncertainty in the market and widespread anxiety for carers and those who use care services.

‘We fully support care workers being paid fairly for the work they do and we urge Government to fund the cost of sleep-in payments with genuinely new money, to prevent more care providers going out of business, contracts being handed back to councils, care workers losing their jobs and less investment in prevention.

‘Without this it will put further strain on informal carers and impact on the wellbeing and outcomes of those who rely on social care, which will reduce the ability of social care to mitigate demand pressures on the NHS.’

For more on the sleep-in care crisis read our feature here.

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