• 25 March 2021
  • 3 min read

Should Care Workers Be Paid In-Full For Sleep-In Shifts?

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder
    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 4
  • 682
Should Care Workers Be Paid In-Full For Sleep-In Shifts?

Carers are not entitled to minimum wage while they sleep at their workplace, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The Supreme Court ruled that Carers who have to sleep at their workplace overnight in case they are needed are not entitled to the minimum wage for their whole shift.

Judges dismissed appeals against previous court rulings from two Care Workers.

Should care providers undertake to pay their workers a full hourly rate, regardless of this judgement? Comment 💬 Like ❤️ Reply 🙂 below.

In 2018, the Court of Appeal had ruled that "sleepers-in" were to be characterised as "available for work... rather than actually working".

This meant "the only time that counts for national minimum wage purposes is time when the worker is required to be awake for the purposes of working".

Do you think that Care Workers, supported by their Unions, should transition to working proper ‘night-shifts’ in order to be paid a full hourly rate?

The decision by the Court concludes a four-year legal battle involving two Care Workers and the charity Mencap.

Had the judgement gone the other way, it could have threatened care providers with a potential £400m back-pay bill. This, care providers argued, could potentially jeopardise the care of vulnerable people.

Is it possible that considerations about the consequences of the ruling were taken too much into account, rather than the principle being ruled upon?

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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Edel Harris, Mencap’s chief executive, said: “Mencap contested this case because of the devastating unfunded back-pay liabilities facing providers across the sector. This was estimated at £400m. Sleep-ins are a statutory care service which should be funded by local authorities, and ultimately government.

Matthew Wort, a partner at the solicitors acting for Care England, the body that represents independent care providers and intervened in the Supreme Court case - said care providers had avoided a "potentially catastrophic financial outcome".

Given the state of funding in Social Care as a whole, how important do you think the financial considerations were for the Supreme Court in making their ruling?

Clare Tomlinson-Blake, one of the Care Workers who brought the case, said: “This case was never about the money. It was about the principle of treating staff fairly. Sleep-in shifts aren’t about just being on call – it’s work. Staff are constantly on guard to protect the most vulnerable in society.”

Do you think this ruling will dissuade people potentially looking to work in the care sector?

Christina McAnea, UNISON general secretary, whose trade union backed Mrs Tomlinson-Blake's case, said: “No one is a winner from today’s judgment. Everyone loses until the government intervenes to mend a broken system that relies on paying skilled staff a pittance.”

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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Should the government look at amending employment law to recognise the on-call nature of overnight care work, to ensure that Care Workers are not paid less than the minimum wage for the hours they spend at their place of employment?

A Downing Street spokesman praised the "tireless" work of Care Workers but would not say whether Social Care reforms, promised this year, would address the issue of overnight pay.

"We are aware of the judgement from the Supreme Court," he added.

Should this ruling be a catalyst in ensuring that matters relating to pay are discussed in any Social Care reforms the Government brings forward?

Please let us know what you think in the comments, and Like the article if you found it interesting.

Thanks.

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

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  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

  • 4 Comments
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    • Bridget Khainza 12 days ago
      Bridget Khainza
    • Bridget Khainza
      12 days ago

      They should be paid for sure.

    • Christina Connolly 13 days ago
      Christina Connolly
    • Christina Connolly
      13 days ago

      Of course this decision is wrong. Care workers should be paid the minimum wage for overnight stays. It is these ... read more

    • Cecilia Pantus 13 days ago
      Cecilia Pantus
    • Cecilia Pantus
      13 days ago

      When you get hired, you commit to work and earn money for your existence. That means working, not sleeping and getting ... read more

    • Margaret Allen 13 days ago
      Margaret Allen
    • Margaret Allen
      13 days ago

      Yes care workers should be paid for sleepover shifts because they are there for a reason. If the person they ... read more