United Kingdom Homecare Assosication (UKHCA) have made their members aware of the following update on the ongoing National Minimum Wage debates.

News coverage of increasing pressure from politicians for HMRC and Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) over investigations into – and the naming of – organisations which fail to comply with National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Increased HMRC activity

The social care sector has already been highlighted as one where there is a high incidence of non-compliance with NMW. UKHCA repeatedly comments on the impact of the procurement practices of local authorities, and the extreme pressure exerted on low prices as the largest part of this problem.

HMRC will be under increasing pressure to identify and name publically employers who breach NMW. Government’s guidance on enforcing NMW and how they operate the “naming criteria” for organisations paying below NMW can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/enforcing-national-minimum-wage-law.

Resources from UKHCA

UKHCA provides a comprehensive National Minimum Wage Toolkit to guide employers, which explains how the homecare sector should apply the National Minimum Wage, and how a provider can audit their compliance with the Regulations. The toolkit is available at www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=422, and we encourage UKHCA members to read this carefully, if they have not already done so.

UKHCA’s Costing Model (www.ukhca.co.uk/CostingModel/) enables providers to assess the costs of their services. The model can also be used to provide evidence to councils of rates which are too low, along with UKHCA’s Minimum Price for Homecare (www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=434).

Low rates from councils and trusts

However, it remains the case that despite low rates from local authorities or trusts, responsibility for complying with the Minimum Wage rests with individual employers.

Employers must be sure that the rates they tender (or accept from councils who impose a maximum price) are sustainable for their business and that the organisation can comply with Minimum Wage in full. Where this is not the case, organisations should not bid and are strongly encouraged to inform the council or trust of the reason.

UKHCA‘s campaigning activity

UKHCA is just completing a Freedom of Information Act enquiry with 211 councils (and the health and social care trusts in Northern Ireland), which will expose both the national and local picture of low rates paid for care in all four UK administrations in detail.

We will be sharing this with Government, regulators and the media as soon as it is ready and will be encouraging the elected members of councils to scrutinise the practices of their social services departments. We will make this information available to UKHCA members as soon as it is published. In the meantime, we continue our frequent engagement with Government and the media on the issue of Minimum Wage and the huge financial pressures on the homecare sector.