National Minimum Wage: sleep-in care: (Bulletin Number CBP 8243)

House of Commons Library, March 2018

In April 2017 the Employment Appeal Tribunal handed down judgment in Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake, providing further guidance on whether employees who undertake sleep-in duties are entitled the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the time during which they are sleeping. The Tribunal held that, in some cases, carers who are required to be present throughout the night will be entitled to the NMW whether awake or asleep. While this proposition had been established by case law prior to the Mencap case, government guidance had not explained this clearly.

Social care providers have expressed concerns about their ability to meet the requirement to pay carers the NMW during sleep-in shifts. Moreover, many such providers may be exposed to claims for backdated pay.  To obtain backdated wages if underpaid, an employee could take a claim to the employment tribunal or the country court. In addition, the State enforces the NMW. If an employer has breached NMW law, HMRC may take enforcement action.

Following the Mencap decision and the realisation that government guidance had been “potentially misleading”, the Government has set up the Social Care Compliance Scheme and temporarily modified its policy on enforcing the NMW in the social care sector.

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Left to chance: the health and care nursing workforce supply in England

Royal College of Nursing, February 2018

Report from the Royal College of Nursing that finds the current approach to workforce planning in England is fragmented and incomplete, with no clear national accountability for ensuring that nursing staff with the right skills arrive in the right parts of the health care system at the right time. The lack of comprehensive data on current nursing staff and training numbers means that national workforce planning is incoherent, and credible workforce strategy impossible.  It notes that since nurse bursaries were abolished, the 2018 applications to UCAS for nursing courses have seen a 13% fall compared to the same time last year, a total fall of 33% since the same time in January 2016.

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The Nursing Workforce

House of Commons Select Committee, January 2018

This report argues that too little attention has been given to retaining nurses in the NHS, which has resulted in more nurses now leaving than joining the professional register. It identifies various factors for the cause of the shortfall of nurses in the NHS including workload pressures, poor access to continuing professional development, pay and a general sense of being undervalued.

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Greater Manchester: Working Well Early impact assessment (Research Report No 946)

Learning and Work Institute, January 2018

This report is an early stage review of the impact of a local, integrated approach to support for long-term unemployed ESA claimants.  It aims to identify whether a locally designed and delivered approach to employment support, complemented by integrated local services, achieves better outcomes for long-term workless clients, with often complex and multiple needs, compared to the alternative Jobcentre Plus business as usual provision.  The Working Well Annual Report 2016 from the GMCA noted that there had been marked improvements in the mental and physical health, qualification/skills and work experience of individuals on the programme for 18 months or more. Whilst a similar pattern was evident for individuals who had been on the programme for a shorter period of time, the scale of improvement was lower.

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Retaining your clinical staff: a practical improvement resource

NHS Improvement, December 2017

This improvement resource outlines key steps to improving retention of clinical staff. It has distilled our advice from interviews with trust HR directors, directors of nursing and medical directors.  It recognises that no one action will boost retention on its own – sustained action in several areas is needed. It also acknowledges that external factors like private sector wage growth, the strength of the pound and the increasing demands of a clinical role in the NHS all make it difficult to retain staff.  Despite this there are factors in trusts’ control and trusts are exploiting these in their efforts to improve retention. These factors are covered in this resource.

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Good work, wellbeing and changes in performance outcomes: illustrating the effects of good people management practices with an analysis of the National Health Service

What Works Wellbeing, December 2017

This report illustrates the effect of good people management with an analysis of the National Health Service.  The report found Trusts that made the most extensive use of good people management practices were over three times more likely to have the lowest levels of staff sickness absence and at least four times more likely to have the most satisfied patients. They were also more than twice as likely to have staff with the highest levels of job satisfaction compared to NHS Trusts that made least use of these practices, and over three times more likely to have staff with the highest levels of engagement. No link was found between people management practices and patient mortality.

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Improving Lives: The Future of Work, Health and Disability

Department of Work and Pensions, December 2017

This paper that establishes how government, employers, charities, healthcare providers and local authorities will work to break down employment barriers for disabled people and people with health conditions over the next ten years. The actions outlined for health services focus on ensuring that health professionals are ready to talk about health barriers to work, timely access to appropriate treatments, and effective occupational health services accessible by all in work.

Click here to view the full report.