PA employers will not be exempt from further HMRC action on minimum wage : DisabledGo News


Disabled people who employ personal assistants (PAs) will not be exempt from a new government scheme designed to ensure that sleep-in care workers receive the minimum wage back pay they are due, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed.

Disability News Service (DNS) has been told by HMRC that some individual employers of PAs are still being investigated over their failure to pay the full national minimum wage (NMW) to PAs who had worked overnight “sleep-ins”.

And HMRC has made it clear that any arrears owed by disabled employers of PAs will eventually have to be paid.

But it is not clear whether those arrears will be the responsibility of local authorities who funded direct payments that paid for PAs, or if individual disabled employers will have to meet that liability themselves.

Other disabled employers of PAs may have funded that support themselves.

The government announced this week that it was launching a new “compliance scheme”, which will give social care employers up to a year to identify how much they owe to staff who have been incorrectly paid below the legal minimum wage for sleep-in shifts.

At the end of this period, employers who have identified arrears will have up to three months to pay workers what they are owed.

Those who decide not to opt in to the scheme will be “subject to the full HMRC investigative process”, which could lead to financial penalties, public naming and shaming, and prosecution.

The government had previously waived further penalties for sleep-in shifts underpayment that took place before 26 July 2017, and temporarily suspended enforcement action between 26 July and 1 November 2017.

That action in July followed a high-profile tribunal ruling involving the disability charity Mencap, which found in April that many care workers should have been paid at least the minimum wage for the hours when spent on an overnight shift.

An HMRC spokesman told DNS this week that his department was not able to say how many individual PA employers were being investigated for non-payment of sleep-in NMW arrears.

But he said: “The government is aware that individuals who have used their own money, or direct payments, to fund sleep-in shifts could be personally liable for NMW arrears.

“These individuals are themselves extremely vulnerable, and the government is committed to doing all it can to prevent them from suffering financial difficulties as a result of this issue.

“However, the law states that all employers must pay NMW for sleep-in shifts, and this includes cases where an individual becomes an employer.

“The government is working with local authorities to develop solutions that enable these arrears to be paid to workers without causing financial hardship for individuals.

“Personal budget holders who have NMW arrears will be eligible for the social care compliance scheme as part of the government’s efforts to make sure that vulnerable individuals receive the support they require.”

But he added: “The Care Act sets out a number of duties on a local authority to ensure a personal budget adequately reflects personal needs.”

Asked whether this meant that HMRC believed it could be the responsibility of local authorities to meet the arrears faced by PA employers who receive direct payments, he said the government had “engaged local authorities to ensure personal budget allocations take into account the rules on NMW and when time spent asleep is working time for NMW purposes.

“The government will work with local authorities to provide appropriate support on a case by case basis and intends to carefully monitor any additional local authority spending as a result of supporting individuals and the effect on local authority finances.”

But he had not been able to clarify by noon today (Thursday) whether HMRC believed local authorities who funded direct payments could now be responsible for meeting the sleep-in shift NMW arrears of individual PA employers.

Meanwhile, Sue Bott, deputy chief executive of Disability Rights UK, has warned that some disabled people are now having to cut back on their day-time support in order to be able to pay NMW rates during the night.

She said: “Although employers will have longer to deal with any underpayment of sleep-ins, the government announcement fails to get to the heart of the problem.

“Of course, PAs and other social care staff should be paid the proper rate for the job, but a direct payment must be sufficient to cover the costs.

“Unfortunately, what we are seeing is that people are having to reduce the support they have in the day to pay for support at night.

“The hole in social care funding just gets deeper every day with disabled people and older people having to pay the price through lack of essential support.”

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “The fact that employers won’t have to settle any back-payment for sleep-in costs until March 2019 is helpful and buys some much-needed time to further understand the size and potential impact of the historic liability.

“But this announcement does not end the uncertainty for providers, care workers, the people they care for and their families, and those who pay for their own care or employ a personal assistant through a personal budget.

“It was misleading government guidance in the past which caused the confusion over whether national minimum/living wage should apply for sleep-in shifts.

“Now the government has clarified the position, it needs to provide genuinely new funding to deal with back-payment.”

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Source : PA employers will not be exempt from further HMRC action on minimum wage : DisabledGo News

When and how should relatives be paid through a direct payment? | Community Care


It’s a common problem these days that people who either have their own direct payment (or hold one, as an authorised person, for a person lacking capacity to request one) are building up an underspend, through not being able to find the staff to meet the assessed need.

In some cases, of course, it will be because the holder or owner of the DP will have an entrenched view about the quality of worker they want to find; and the rate will not be enough to cover the market rate for such a worker, but the DP holder is willing to compromise on the number of hours they were supposed to be being funded for, if they can only find the right worker.

That’s a choice that they can probably take, without offending against any principle of the Care Act that would be held over them. If they take that choice, then they must take responsibility for it.

Source: When and how should relatives be paid through a direct payment? | Community Care

PA employers are facing probes into ‘sleep-in’ minimum wage back-pay – Black Triangle Campaign


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has admitted to Disability News Service (DNS) that individual PA employers have been investigated, just like large service-providers such as Mencap.

The government has publicly warned – following a high-profile tribunal ruling involving the charity – that many care workers should have been paid at least the minimum wage for the hours when they were sleeping on an overnight shift.

Many of them should now be able to claim for up to six years back-pay.

But the revelation that individual disabled people who use PAs are also being pursued by HMRC for years of back-pay is now beginning to cause alarm in the independent living movement.

In April, the employment appeal tribunal ruled against Mencap and said the charity should have been paying care workers at least the minimum wage for “sleep-ins”.

Mencap is now appealing against the ruling.

 

Source: PA employers are facing probes into ‘sleep-in’ minimum wage back-pay – Black Triangle Campaign

Nearly one in three staff laid off by HMRC are disabled, says union | DisabledGo News and Blog


Nearly a third of employees who have lost their jobs in an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) compulsory redundancy programme are disabled people, union officials have revealed. Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) demonstrated against the redundancies outside HMRC’s Reading offices this week. They are angry that out of 79 compulsory redundancies across the UK, as many as 24 staff members who left their jobs this week are disabled people. They say the decision to make so many disabled staff members redundant makes a mockery of government claims that it wants to halve the disability employment gap. In Reading, of three administrative assistants who lost their jobs, two are disabled people. Many of those affected by the redundancy programme are staff at the lowest pay level, which is disproportionately occupied by disabled and black and minority ethnic staff, said the union. David Wilmott, a disabled administrative assistant who has been made redundant, and himself a PCS

Source: Nearly one in three staff laid off by HMRC are disabled, says union | DisabledGo News and Blog

Private Eye from 2006 on the Failure and Dysfunction of the Freedom of Information Act


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Private Eye in its issue for the 6th to 19th January 2006 published a long article on how the Blair government’s Freedom of Information Act actually didn’t do what everyone expected, and lead to great openness and freedom of information from government. I’m posting it up here as it shows how there’s always been a problem using the Act to get information, as Mike and so many of the other disability activists have found out for themselves, trying to get information out of Ian Duncan Smith’s DWP. Here’s the article:

How FOI Doesn’t Work

“The culture of secrecy in Whitehall, and beyond, is cracking open,” announced Lord Falconer in the Guardian last week, reflecting on the first anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act.

“We have seen real change … We seek to achieve across the whole public sector a new culture of openness, fully embedded in each and…

View original post 788 more words

These businesses have been named and shamed for failing to pay their workers the minimum wage


Original post from Wales Online

‘………..

Some major high street names are among the businesses, which also include several from around Wales

Monsoon and Accessorize are among the firms named for not paying their staff the minimum wage
Monsoon and Accessorize are among the firms named for not paying their staff the minimum wage

Eleven companies in Wales are among more than 100 across the UK who are named and shamed by the Government today for failing to pay workers the minimum wage.

The businesses, one of which has ceased trading, come from all over Wales and include garages, a coach business, a hairdresser and a branch of the YCMA.

Between them the 11 employers underpaid 13 workers a total of £13,567.

There are well-known national firms on the list, including Monsoon Accessorize Ltd, which owns both the high street chains.

Across the UK as a whole, 115 companies failed to pay their staff the minimum wage in sectors including retail, hairdressing, education, catering and social care.

The £389,000 they underpaid their workers by has already been paid back and the firms will have to pay penalties following investigations by HM Revenue and Customs.

Across the UK 115 companies underpaid their workers by £389,000
Across the UK 115 companies underpaid their workers by £389,000

More than 400 employers have now been named and shamed since ministers launched the scheme two years ago, with total arrears of £1.1m and penalties of more than £500,000.

Among the firms named today the ones with the biggest bills for underpayment include Monsoon Accessorize Ltd which owed £104,000 to 1,400 workers, Tyne & Wear Riding for the Disabled Association (£27,000 to six workers), Project Security in Doncaster (£23,000 to 18 workers) and Carl Keith Salons, Prescot, Merseyside, (£20,000 to five workers).

‘National living wage will be enforced robustly’

Others named included hairdressers, a taxi firm, hotels, a nursery school and a funeral director.

Business minister Nick Boles said: “Employers who fail to pay the minimum wage hurt the living standards of the lowest paid and their families.”

He pledged that the new national living wage of £7.20 an hour for over 25-year-olds from next April will be enforced “equally robustly” as the minimum wage, currently £6.70.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said the list was just the tip of the iceberg
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the list was just the tip of the iceberg

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s good to see that the Government is naming and shaming more companies who pay their employees less than the minimum wage.

“However, today’s list of offenders is only the tip of the iceberg. Many more employers are getting away with illegal underpayment.”

The Welsh companies named and shamed today are:

  • Solex Systems Ltd (ceased trading), Broughton, neglected to pay £5,978.17 to 3 workers
  • Elgan Davies Ltd, Cardigan, neglected to pay £2,312.62 to 1 worker
  • Nichola Crosby, trading as Beyond The Fringe, Cwmbran, neglected to pay £1,687.91 to 1 worker
  • Young Men’s Christian Association Bargoed and District Branch, Bargoed, neglected to pay £1,372.12 to 1 worker
  • KJM Autos Ltd, Hengoed, neglected to pay £736.12 to 1 worker
  • Ceredigion Couriers Ltd, Machynlleth, neglected to pay £620.55 to 1 worker
  • Forward Life Ltd, Swansea, neglected to pay £286.00 to 1 worker
  • D K Forecourts Ltd, trading as Texaco Garage, Caerphilly, neglected to pay £156.00 to 1 worker
  • Coach Travel Wales Ltd, trading as Coach Travel Wales, Aberystwyth, neglected to pay £153.52 to 1 worker
  • D K Forecourts Ltd, trading as Pavilion Garage, Pontypool, neglected to pay £151.44 to 1 worker
  • Mark Gosling, trading as Regency Autos, Penarth, neglected to pay £116.76 to 1 worker

Read more:

Do jobs where you live pay the living wage? Nearly 300,000 jobs in Wales don’t

The Welsh employers flying the flag for the Living Wage

Employers who fail to pay the living wage could face £20,000 fines and a 15-year ban from directorships, Cameron warns     …………..’

 

 

Greg Wright: Why people with autism deserve a fairer deal at work


Original post from The Yorkshire Post

‘…………..

Thomas Kingston
Thomas Kingston

YOUNG people with autism are being encouraged to gain a foothold in the world of work, with support from a major charity.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have offered young people with autism work experience as part of an ‘Insight Programme’ developed in partnership with Ambitious about Autism.

The participants in the pilot scheme included Thomas Kingston, from Loftus, near Whitby, who is in the third year of a business law degree at the BPP University.

 He said: “I didn’t know much about a career in the civil service but always had an interest in the running of the country, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to find out more…This was an exceptional opportunity to gain experience at the heart of the UK’s decision-making body.”

The scheme looked at addressing the fact that 85 per cent of adults with autism are not in full-time paid employment. The two-week programme enabled participants to develop skills and familiarity with an office based workplace, gain support and coaching from managers, and obtain information about Civil Service employment programmes, including Fast Track Apprenticeships and the Summer Diversity Internship Programme.

The scheme had three core elements – work experience, coaching and awareness sessions. Coaching was provided for the young people participating in the scheme, who all received a development plan. Along with broader confidence building and career planning guidance, sessions also focused on strategies for completing online tests, application forms, and attending job assessment centres.

Employees at DWP and HMRC were offered workshop-based sessions, providing an overview of autism and how those on the autism spectrum can be supported in the workplace. These sessions, co-delivered by a young person with autism, provided basic autism awareness training to managers.

Jolanta Lasota, the chief executive of Ambitious about Autism, said: “With the right support, planning and opportunities from employers, many young people with autism have the ability and desire to work. However, recent figures show that only 15 per cent of people with autism are in full-time, paid employment. Schemes like this are vital in getting young people with autism into the workplace and we are delighted that HMRC and DWP are ready and willing to take part.”

 Janet Hill, civil service diversity and inclusion team programme director, added: “Small changes to the working environment are often all that is needed to support young people with autism and we are keen to make this happen.

“Ambitious about Autism has been helpful in putting this programme together and I look forward to putting all our learnings into practice. We look forward to the benefit this training has provided our staff and to hosting more schemes like this.”

David Nicholson, a youth ambassador at Ambitious about Autism, and one of the young people taking part in the scheme, added: “Having us involved in this training is great because we can give an insight that no one else can.”

Kayleigh Wainwright, the project lead for the partnership, said: “We are evaluating the scheme to see what worked well, what are the benefits and how much it would cost to resource something like this and then we will identify where to go next. We have existing links with some private sector organisations, where we could develop this further.”

 Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism.

The charity provides services, raises awareness and understanding, and campaigns to improve the quality of life for children and young people with autism.

Through the TreeHouse School, The Rise School and Ambitious College it also provides specialist education and support.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects one in 100 people in the UK.

It affects the way a person communicates and how they experience the world.   ……….’