Sleep in care workers and the national minimum wage- Supreme court challenge

Are sleep-in carers entitled to the national minimum wage for each hour of their sleep-in shift? It has been a question that has vexed the care sector for many years now but has never really been solved.

In 2015 in the tribunal had decided that the sleep-in carer had been entitled to receive the national minimum wage for each hour of sleep-in shifts completed. Last year however in the case of Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake and Shannon v Rampersad [2018] EWCA civ 1641 the Court of Appeal overturned this decision. In the latest twist to this matter an appeal was submitted to the Supreme Court who have now decided to hear this appeal. It is estimated that should the case be decided in favour of the Claimants that the cost to the care sector more widely as a result of this case and back pay owed will be £400 million.

What has the care sector been saying about the matter?

It can been seen from a review of some of the comments of key players within the care sector there is in fact considerable support for the care workers. Mencap poses the following question on it’s website ‘Does Mencap not want support workers to be better paid?’ and responds ‘of course we do’ and goes on to state that ‘we are hugely proud of the outstanding work that our colleagues in the social care sector do and we recognise that they are some of the lowest paid in our society. They deserve to be paid more, but for that to happen, the Government needs to put more funding into social care – paying the sleep-in back pay is not a long term solution’. This sentiment is echoed by Rhidian Hughes, the Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) stating that the VODG remain ‘committed to securing a solution that recognised the valuable contribution that social care workers make and at a level that ensures services are sustainably funded’.

As the Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK, it will be interesting to see what they have to say on this matter and whether this issue will become resolved, what will happen to the Social Care Compliance Scheme and how in practice this will affect those in the care sector.

If you have any queries in relation to national minimum wage then please do contact James Monk on 0121 227 3366 or jmonk@thursfields.co.uk

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