Keeping the pressure up to resolve the ‘sleep-in’ issue

This week I raised the issue of ‘sleep-in’ payments with both the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and the First Secretary of State, Damien Green. These are overnight care arrangements, provided by staff that sleep on-site, responding to emergency requests for support. The Government is now classifying sleep-ins as ‘working time’ and therefore applying the National Living Wage which has caused acute problems for a sector that cares for vulnerable people 24 hours a day. The sector’s total liability, going back six years, is £400 million at the most conservative estimates, and going forward, providers would collectively have to cover an additional £200 million a year in wage bills. Both the Chancellor and the First Secretary said they were fully aware of the issue and are working hard to find a solution as soon as possible. I am very hopeful that there will be an announcement soon, which I will welcome, because by acting now we can ensure that community based-care remains sustainable in the long term and quality services are maintained.