After a considerable number of drafts, and much careful consideration by lawyers, Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP and the UKHCA Policy and Campaigns Team, a revised version of the UKHCA National Minimum Wage Toolkit (June 2015) has now been published.

As it is important that local authorities, Health and Social Care Trusts, and NHS commissioners understand what home care providers have to do, to achieve compliance with minimum wage rules, they have made the tool kit available to all as a free download from their website.

New in the June 2015 revision is a Quick Start Guide that provides a brief overview of key issues of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for home care providers. Needless to say it’s not a substitute for reading this tool kit in full, but is intended to kick start readers’ thinking about, and checking of, compliance.

The revision reflects a variety of changes (derived either from technical changes in the law, case law or practice, or our growing understanding of how the HMRC, as the enforcement body, interprets NMW rules), including:

  • Recognition that ACAS now provide the service previously run as the Government’s Pay and Work Rights Helpline.
  • References to the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 have been updated to reflect the equivalent regulation in the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015.
  • The significance of the lowest rate of pay being used in calculations of compliance with the National Minimum Wage for time work has been emphasised.
  • Caution is expressed over whether or not an employer deducting the costs of a criminal record check will be excluded from calculations of the National Minimum Wage.
  • Particular caution is expressed over payments received by workers engaged on a self-employed basis.
  • A change in how the new National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 describe time spent available for work at or near their place of work (i.e. on-call time) is included.
  • Minor updates have been made to the arrangements for unmeasured work, including reference to daily average agreements, which are most likely to affect care workers engaged on a live-in basis.
  • Clarification is included of the way that sleep ins are handled, following recent case-law and revised guidance from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
  • Additional reference is included to recent case-law as it affects on call services.
  • The increased penalties for non-compliance brought by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

UKHCA are particularly grateful to members for sending details of the tricky areas of compliance that have tested their businesses, and of HMRC investigations where these have been carried out. They have used this material as a basis for discussion with their lawyers, which slightly delayed the production of the tool kit but they believe helped to reflect current practice more accurately.

UKHCA urge providers to download the revised NMW Tool kit to help their compliance and show to commissioners when contracts and tenders are let. Interpretation of National Minimum Wage is a complex subject and inevitably there are still some grey areas, but they hope the revised tool kit will lead to a greater understanding of how minimum wage rules apply in the home care sector.

The UKHCA National Minimum Wage Tool kit (June 2015) can be downloaded here www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=422