Sleep-in care workers entitled to minimum wage only when awake, court rules

Posted: March 22nd 2021


This article puts into bold relief the challenges facing those dedicated to providing care for vulnerable people overnight. It tells us, in a ruling that will affect many rural care settings:

The government is under pressure to reform care laws after the supreme court ruled that support workers on “sleep-in” shifts are not required to be paid the national minimum wage for hours when they are not awake..

The decision ends a four-year legal battle involving two care workers and the learning disability charity Mencap that threatened to leave care providers with a potential £400m back-pay bill potentially jeopardising the care of vulnerable people.

The court said care workers should only be paid the national minimum wage hourly rate on sleep-in shifts when they were awake for the purposes of working.

While it ends the immediate possibility that huge back-pay bills would force care providers to close, the decision means thousands of care support workers – already on low incomes – potentially face substantial cuts in earnings.