Being a support worker is not only a job, but a passion.

I enjoy seeing the positive difference that my fantastic fellow colleagues and I continue to contribute to the lives of the people we support.

To be a Mencap support worker means being the voice of people with learning disability; making sure that they are heard loud and clear just like any other member of our society, as well as helping them to develop into a confident, independent individual.

I support people with a learning disability with their day-to-day activities both in at home, and in the community. This support is needed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

However, a recent change in Government guidance is threatening this vital care, and could result in a social care crisis. HMRC have been enforcing orders that support workers should be paid the National Minimum Wage for a sleep in shift, with up to six years back pay.

Sleep in shifts are only available to a service once all necessary legal processes have been considered, and the service qualifies for funding from the Local Authority. Care providers are expected to pay this back pay bill, without extra funding from the Local Authority.

Organisations like Mencap are paying the minimum hourly wage for these shifts but the back-pay bill could cost the learning disability sector £400 million pounds. A bill it cannot afford to pay.

That’s why I’m supporting Mencap to urge the Government to fund the huge back-pay bill and avoid care providers going under.

The care myself and my colleagues provide is so important. We support people through the night for lots of different reasons. From supporting someone to use the toilet safely, to being there in case of emergency (like a fire). We support people who have Epilepsy and may have seizure during the night, as well as people who have been known to present challenging behaviour and could harm themselves at any time. The people we support need us to be there, just in case.

Imagine if this support was taken away. These vulnerable people could be left with no support and no independence; their lives, that we have been working so hard to help them develop, could be changed considerably.

The Government needs to realise that they too have a duty of care to the most vulnerable people in our society. I’d like to ask the Government to share Mencap’s values to be:

  • Trustworthy and inclusive by delivering their promises to represent the most vulnerable in our society, keeping them at the core of their agendas.
  • Positive and caring by treating people with a learning disability with kindness and respect, and appreciating what Mencap has achieved for this community. 
  • Challenging by reviewing the recent change in guidance and considering the true effects it would have for the people who rely on sleep in support, before continuing to enforce back payments. 

No price can be put on the brilliant work a support worker does and the positive contribution they bring in to the life of a person with a learning disability. Back-pay serves as an encouraging incentive, but not at the cost of losing brilliant organisations like Mencap.

The people we support are at the heart of everything we do, please join me and ask the Government to protect their care.

Find out more

The Government's bill to the care sector for six years back pay is a threat to the vital support for thousands of disabled people. 

Please sign our petition to #StopSleepInCrisis by urging the Government to fix this problem, which they have created.

The future care of the most vulnerable people in our society must be protected.

Share your story

Are you a support worker in the learning disability care sector? Are you worried about your service being liable for 6 years back-pay and the effect it could have on your role?

If you want to talk publicly about your concerns, please contact our Media Team at reallifestories@mencap.org.uk, so we can help you get your voice heard. 

Sign the petition

The care sector has been landed with a £400 million bill, and many providers now face bankruptcy.

The Government has caused this problem and only they can fix it.

Sign our petition now to #StopSleepInCrisis and help keep vulnerable people safe.

Sign now!