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National Minimum Wage in the social care Sector

The Social Care Compliance Scheme

Employers in the social care sector have had mixed signals from HMRC about payment of National Minimum Wage (NMW) for workers carrying out sleep in shifts – although the headline news is that NMW is payable here.

HMRC have set up a new compliance scheme, the Social Care Compliance Scheme (SCCS), from 1 November 2017. Employers enter on an opt-in basis – ‘at HMRC’s discretion.’ They can use SCCS to ‘self-review,’ identifying and paying any arrears for sleep-in shifts. The scheme allows 12 months for self-review, and a further three months to pay arrears.

The deadline to join is 31 December 2018, and the scheme ends on 31 March 2019, which is the final deadline for payment of all arrears. The benefit of the scheme is that employers using it will not then be liable for penalties, (200% of the amount owed, up to a maximum of £20,000 per worker) or naming and shaming over NMW underpayment.

Employers who don’t opt in will be subject to normal enforcement procedures, and will not be able to access these concessions. They could then be liable to penalties, potential prosecution, and naming. They are however not liable for penalties for arrears accrued before 26 July 2017.

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