Supreme Court hears minimum wage ‘sleep-in’ cases

Photo: Lazyllama / Shutterstock

In a landmark case for the care sector, the Supreme Court today hears two cases on the national minimum wage (NMW) that will examine what pay is due when staff “sleep in” as part of their duties.

In 2018, in its consideration of the two similar cases in the care sector – Royal Mencap Society v Claire Tomlinson Blake and John Shannon v Jaikisham and Prithee Rampersad (trading as Clifton House Residential Home) – the Court of Appeal found employees who stay at a disabled, elderly or vulnerable person’s house overnight are only entitled to the national minimum wage while they are carrying out their duties, not for the full duration of their sleep-in shift.

The judgment said that workers were either available for work or actually working.

In Mencap v Tomlinson-Blake, Mencap were contracted to provide support and care to vulnerable adults. Ms Tomlinson-Blake and other carers provided 24-hour support to two men in their home. She worked either a day shift or a sleep-in shift.

Sleep-in shifts lasted nine hours and she received a flat rate of £29.05 for this. Tomlinson-Blake had her own room and could sleep during the shift, but was required to keep “a listening ear out” during the night and provide support where needed and to respond to any emergencies.  The need was “real but infrequent” and Tomlinson-Blake had only had to intervene on six occasions during the previous 16 months.

The employee argued she should receive the minimum wage for every hour of her sleep-in shift.

In Shannon v Rampersad, Mr Shannon was offered a job as an “on-call night care assistant” by his friend who owned a care home. He lived on site in a flat and had to be available from 10pm to 7am each night.  He was rarely called upon to help during the night.  Following a TUPE transfer, Shannon claimed that he should have received the NMW for all of his night shifts and that he had been underpaid by £240,000.

The lower courts had found that Tomlinson-Blake was working throughout her sleep in shifts and should have received the NMW for those hours, but Shannon was not as he was only available for work (and was not working).

The Court of Appeal however found that both Shannon and Tomlinson-Blake were only “available” to work during their shifts, rather than actually working, and only had to be paid the minimum wage if they were asked to work during that time.  It took into account a report by the Low Pay Commission, which recommended that workers who were on call and allowed to sleep at their workplace should not have those hours counted for national minimum wage purposes.

Fergal Dowling, head of employment law at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Organisations on very tight budgets, such as care homes, welcomed the clarity provided by the Court of Appeal. If the Supreme Court reverses this decision, many will be exposed to claims they have underpaid staff.

“It is worth remembering that individuals who are not paid the correct national minimum wage for the hours worked can recover up to six years underpayments. More significantly, HMRC can impose huge fines on employers who have breached the rules of up to £20,000 for each underpaid worker.”

The Supreme Court hearing is expected to last until tomorrow.

52 Responses to Supreme Court hears minimum wage ‘sleep-in’ cases

  1. Avatar
    Shirley Kandekore 12 Feb 2020 at 7:21 am #

    Lets hope care staff like myself win this case! I administer medication, sort finances ,work long hours with no enhancements for weekends and bank holidays! I do not get paid travel time and work for the minimum wage! I do sleep in shifts and get paid £25.75 for a 10 hour shift away from my husband and on call if Im needed so should get paid at the very least the minimum wage! My company are a multi millionpound profit making company they should be made to pay out on back pay owed! The government should then step in to help charitys and small companies!

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      Caroline noon 12 Feb 2020 at 2:07 pm #

      I agree…. whilst you are away from your home, your bed, your family, in a strange bed…if a client is at risk night or day and requires you to b there irrespective of if you have to get up or do something, then you r at work and should b paid an hourly rate….its about time these fat cat companies and government recognise the hard work us carers do, at minimum wage…without us the care system would collapse more than it is already doing!!!!

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        Joy 13 Feb 2020 at 11:43 am #

        It is appalling that more often than not staff are left over night totally alone with the most vulnerable adults with learning disabilities, severe epilepsy requiring paramedic assistance and paid less than the minimum wage per hour. The responsibility is massive and should be recompensed accordingly.

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      Patricia Egan 13 Feb 2020 at 2:19 pm #

      I totally agree. All care staff should be paid minimum wage for sleep ins. As you are expected to be listening for vulnerable service users during the night so never actually get any proper sleep. And you finish a shift at 10pm and are again on shift by 8am. So basically at work over 24 hours. In a tiny room come office.

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      Shaun 14 Feb 2020 at 8:50 am #

      We have been fighting this case for years, the care sector is worth over £43 billion in government Contracts. I have just come off a sleep shift and I went to bed at 10pm last night I was woke up at 12am because the person I support was not feeling well (mentally) at 1.30am they return to their flat. Because I don’t get paid for the first two hours so I can’t claim for that.1.5 hrs I’ve been up. At 3.30am the same person came back and had attempted self-harm I contacted 999 at 3.40am and at 5.10am the ambulance arrived this happens most sleep in shifts. I have telling me am not working? I now have to do a 8am to 5pm shift. So when I go home am that tired I go straight

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      Sally 14 Feb 2020 at 11:13 am #

      I am a live in carer classed as UNMEASURED WORK ! on call 24hrs paid £100 per 24hrs ! That is supposed to be for 8/10hrs work ! But clients are up at 7 an bed at 11 and a runaround lackey all day ! 2 hrs break ! NVQ11,CARE which means jack shite ! Paid the same as a newbie with no experience or training! It’s a sham ! Work 6 weeks at a time no days off ! Minimum wage !

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    Sophie Coleman 12 Feb 2020 at 1:48 pm #

    As a support worker its time we were actually paid for the time we are at work. Sadly what most people don’t realise is it isn’t actually counted as part of our working hours so a 35 hour contract with 2 sleep ins turns into an additional 20 odd hours away from home but being paid a small fraction of pay, no additional holiday pay or sick pay. The risk for us is the same if not greater, we are normally loan working with vulnerable people some of who require 1 to 1 care throughout the day but at night one sleep in staff is designated to look after 4 vulnerable people. People need to realise how much the care industry is expecting its staff to do

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      Andre@Mattress Insight 12 Feb 2020 at 4:33 pm #

      You are right Sophie. I agree with you.

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    julie a bower 12 Feb 2020 at 2:27 pm #

    Yes many workers here in Darlington lost out on those sleepins when we were on duty all of the night .

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    TT 12 Feb 2020 at 4:22 pm #

    If you are going to be paid to be asleep you may as well be up working on something productive. There must be some middle ground here!?
    I agree with honest pay for an honest days work.

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      Missy 12 Feb 2020 at 6:51 pm #

      Just read your comment but what may have been lost with in these statements is you could like us do a 2/10 working shift plus sleep 9 hrs plus 2 or more hours the following day we don’t just go on at say 10 pm and got straight to bed

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      Milena 13 Feb 2020 at 2:16 pm #

      And you answered yourself. They need to stay there ! they can’t leave they needs to listing . Even if they had opportunity to lay down they are still working. Why GP and NHS staff are paid but not carers! Councils should pay more to providers so they would be able to pay carers more. The argument that they only wake up twice or four times per night is just unacceptable.

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    paul 12 Feb 2020 at 4:24 pm #

    So a supermarket worker who works their gut out for the minimum wage should get the same as someone who sleeps a majority of their shift?

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      Tony knox 12 Feb 2020 at 6:28 pm #

      Your missing the point totally ! Sleepover is added on to your 37.5 hours and equates to around £3.56 Per hour . I can’t speak for other support workers but on a nine hour sleepover I’m up n down 4-5 times supporting countable adults with personal care aswell as medication

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        Mike 13 Feb 2020 at 5:37 pm #

        Not all sleep-in arrangements are what you do though. Some are literally the staff do sleep for 8 hours and then get up to do their shift or handover the next day. Fair point if you are literally being woken up through the night to attend to a client this should be seen as work, but in many children’s homes the staff sleep there to be on hand the next day and provide a more normal way of life for the kids. If you can expect to sleep a solid 8 hours then you shouldn’t have to be be paid the minimum wage per hour, but a supplement is fair.

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          Beverley Kirkman 19 Feb 2020 at 5:18 pm #

          I dont know anyone who has to sleep at work sleep solid the point is if yu need to be there its work why the hell should carer and support workers be out of there own beds at night and be on duty at work as 6u are needed there that’s why we are there even if it’s a sleep its work why are we expected not to be paid an hourly rate that is part of our job and our full responsibility for peoples lives when we are on a sleep in get real if yu at work yu should be paid if it’s a sleep yu see needed there for a reason it’s not a jolly having to do sleep ins and be out of your own bed and away from family we are doing a highly skilled job and all careers and support workers should be paid whilst at work

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      Marie 12 Feb 2020 at 6:29 pm #

      When on a sleep in, you have normally already been at residents house doing a shift or been working elsewhere which could mean you could be awake and at work for 24 hours, possibly going onto another service the next morning,also when people say oh you sleep, bare in mind its not your bed,you cant just pop out to shop ,have friends round,have a drink as YOUR AT WORK you dont go into proper sleep as you always listening SO WHY SHOULDNT WE BE PAID FOR BEING AT WORK

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      Sophie Bell 12 Feb 2020 at 9:06 pm #

      I’m a support worker that does sleep in shifts.

      No, we don’t sleep the ‘majority of our shifts’. In fact, usually, a sleep in shift is actually a 24 hour or more shift with 8 hours of ‘sleep’ time. That’s 24+ hours away from our own houses and families, getting minimum wage for the hours we’re on shift.

      Let’s say that ‘sleep’ time is 2300 until 0700. You end your shift at 2300. By the time you’ve completed your paperwork and housework, showered and got yourself ready for bed and actually unwound from already doing 12+ hours, it’s past midnight.

      Your shift the next day starts at 0700. You’re expected by 0700 to be washed and dressed and working.

      So, realistically, you’re only able to sleep around 6 hours. And that’s assuming that you’re not called upon through the night, or that you’re not in a house with someone that talks to themselves all night and in turn, keeps you awake. And this is even assuming you can sleep okay away from home, I certainly can’t.

      So yes, we should be paid more. We are at work. We have to be alert and able to work at any given moment.

      It’s not like it a job where we get to go in, sit down and do nothing all day. The job itself is very mentally and physically demanding. That alone should warrant a pay higher than NMW. But we do it, because we love it.

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      Clair 13 Feb 2020 at 4:16 am #

      Have you ever worked in a job that requires sleep ins? I have, in fact I’m on one now, I worked a 4-11 shift last night, I’m now on a sleep in, and I’m then working 7:30-17:00 tomorrow.
      Why am I awake seeing as I’m sleeping in? Well, I’ve just been woken up for the 5th time by one of the 7 epilepsy monitors I have to listen out for, and respond to which means I have to get up and leave the building I’m in and check on the resident, have also had to deal with someone with norovirus, I’m away from the comfort of my own home, Im not free to do as I wish, and I’m lucky to get maybe 2 hours interrupted sleep on a 25 hour shift! I have to give out medication tomorrow morning! Yet you think supermarket work is harder and don’t think care staff deserve to be paid a fair wage?
      I hope one day you are forced to work in care and have to do all the lovely sleep ins seeing as you think they’re so easy, the name sleep in is a laugh, even if all is quiet you never sleep properly, it’s a massive massive responsibility.

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      Gary Todd 13 Feb 2020 at 5:44 am #

      Paul with all due respect youve clearly never worked in care before I’ve worked in supermarkets with no real responsibility other than to fill the shelves, I can assure you it’s hardly a mug of hot chocolate and a 9 hour sleep it can be very challenging and draining sometimes and regardless of how much time we have spent up its still an early start the next morning we work with people with complex needs always listening out for the unexpected (hardly a decent night’s sleep as you have put it) we are responsible for the person(s) we support 24_7 so kindly give us the respect we deserve we are not asking for much just to be recognised for the work we do.

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      Bill Heley 13 Feb 2020 at 12:28 pm #

      Staff don’t have an option about being at work and away from home if they refuse they are sacked for putting client/residents/patient at risk. so if it’s compulsory or else then it deserves at least the NMWy

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      O. 14 Feb 2020 at 7:09 am #

      What do you mean “Sleeps a majority of their shift”!? Have you ever done sleep ins in a care home for Looked After Children? Kids who have been severely abused/neglected? The doors are alarmed and whenever they come out at night (toilet, raise hell, nightmare, abscond etc.) we need to make sure they settle back into their rooms. This can involve a restraint if worse comes to worst. Plus all the Ofsted required paperwork, phone calls to Out Of Hours, police and so on.
      People have 0 clue what they’re talking about. You sleep away from home. You ‘sleep’ light with one eye open, for short periods of time away from home in an uncomfortable box room.

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      Sally 14 Feb 2020 at 11:21 am #

      No but a supermarket worker dont medicate /deal with dementia /deal with vulnerable adults /dont have the responsibility that a carer does !and that carer is away from home ! So would you like to pop on down the rd a couple of times a week for free in someones home while they sleep and you sleep but are there to ensure thier safety ? Mmm see silly comment really without giving it a thought ! If you have free time and are willing to go to work for free offer your services! . And btw if the supermarket said to you hey part of your job was to look after the store but dont worry you can sleep in but hey you do it for free ! Wonder what your thoughts would be !

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      Nikki 14 Feb 2020 at 7:54 pm #

      I work in Mental health supporting 8 vulnerable people . who at night time become lonely and troubled this is when they need staff emotional support . I work lone working service . work from 3 pm to 11pm then go to the sleep room . Being woke up by banging ,fighting,bringing unwanted visitors in the building,self harm and other emergencies then expected to carry out your next shift at 8 am until 4 pm .
      So please staff are worth their weight in gold .

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      Nikki 14 Feb 2020 at 8:09 pm #

      I work in Mental health supporting 8 vulnerable people . who at night time become lonely and troubled this is when they need staff emotional support . I work in a lone working service . I work from 3 pm to 11pm then go to the sleep room . Attending to emergencies contacting police and other emergency services ,completing incident reports .updating risk assessments. Then expected to carry out your next shift at 8 am until 4 pm . Working for minimum wage then offered £26.00 sleep until the changes 2 years ago
      Support staff need more support for the work they carry out . And no you do not sleep .

      Having to sleep /Rest hotmailin a bed that is used by other staff on other shifts.
      So please staff are worth their weight in gold .

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      Loraine 19 Feb 2020 at 8:26 am #

      Paul do you have the responsibility of a persons life and well being all night?? You’re constantly listening on a sleepover so you don’t sleep you doze basically. I work a 13 hour day shift that rolls on as a 7hour sleepover and then my next shift starts at 7am till 1 or 2pm the next day. Then I go home and return to the same routine the next day. Think about the mental strain and responsibility…………it’s not for everyone. But think about the fact that there are people out there that care enough to do it.

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      N. Adams 19 Feb 2020 at 8:03 pm #

      Paul, two wrongs don’y make a ‘right’! And, with all due respect many care workers undertaking ‘sleep-permitted CARE shifts’ are looking after PEOPLE and are often the sole member of staff on-site usually caring for up to 5 vulnerable people & the Care Home they’re working in!

      I would say the whole terminology of ‘sleep-in’ has played right into the court of the Senior Managers of Care Companies as it has maintained this image of Care workers snoozing away for 9 hours etc. which is why I prefer to call these shifts SLEEP PERMITTED NIGHT-CARE SHIFTS (SPNC shifts). The services I now manage & still undertake SPNC shifts in, I would estimate that only 30% of SPNC shifts are totally undisturbed. Also, as one is AT WORK, with the responsibility (duty of care) of a number of people and the Home, one does not sleep as you would sleep at home in your own bed!

      Also, certainly where I work those that have been on a SPNC very often work through to 18.00 or 19.00 the following evening!

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      24 hour carer 20 Feb 2020 at 9:57 am #

      Care staff are on site 24 hours Paul. Care staff are on their feet most of the day . Not only do you do care work but run the whole service. As a lone worker you have to be quick to respond to emergencies, follow procedures.
      Complete paperwork,incident reports update risk assessments and Care plans. Also be a caretaker for the whole building I.e. fire Alarms,tenants leaving the cookers on and smoking in bed. Even when your employer states it’s a sleep try sleeping in a service with 8 tenants with mental health. So please Paul do your research before having an opinion on over people’s job roles.

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    Brian Smyth 12 Feb 2020 at 4:32 pm #

    I work 10 hours Sleepover for £34.86 which is well below the living wage however no matter how much l and my colleagues raise this issue we are informed that the company can’t afford to pay us

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    Brian Smyth 12 Feb 2020 at 5:44 pm #

    I work 10 hours Sleepover for a payment of £34.86 which is well below the living wage however my company advises I and my colleagues that they are unable to increase the payment which has resulted in a disappointed and frustrated workforce ☹️

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    J McGinn 12 Feb 2020 at 6:32 pm #

    when you have to get up and deal with your client 4/5 times through the night you should get paid. you can be back in bed and up 20 mins later just as your ready to fall asleep your up again.

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    Marie 12 Feb 2020 at 6:32 pm #

    When on a sleep in, you have normally already been at residents house doing a shift or been working elsewhere which could mean you could be awake and at work for 24 hours, possibly going onto another service the next morning,also when people say oh you sleep, bare in mind its not your bed,you cant just pop out to shop ,have friends round,have a drink as YOUR AT WORK you dont go into proper sleep as you always listening SO WHY SHOULDNT WE BE PAID FOR BEING AT WORK

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    L. Gillingham 12 Feb 2020 at 7:03 pm #

    I work 2 sleep ins a week for £30, yes if disturbed and have to get up I do get paid if needed for more than an hour, i dont sleep very well due to noises from some of the residents that are up, I often have to do a 8/12 hour shift the next day, so now if this is won the company will have to pay up. I work a 40 hour week but the sleep ins aren’t taken into account so 24 hours extra at work a week which is 64 hours but 24 hours not paid at nmw, good luck to everyone and I hope we get justice x

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    Caroline noon 12 Feb 2020 at 11:46 pm #

    Paul.. most carers who do a sleep in also work a 10 hr shift prior to or after their sleep in. Carers do work their guts out…. our responsibility for that client at night is major… if something happens to the client whilst we r on a sleep, it falls on us… and that could mean jail for really serious issues unlike your supermarket worker… yet we are still on minimum wages and the companies/government r trying to dodge what is right…Carers are used and abused and thousands leave the job every year because of it…god help this country as the population is getting older and older and you will all needs us one day..problem is, is that we keep getting treated like this… then there will be NO carers left to do the jobs…. its already happening!!!!

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    Gary 13 Feb 2020 at 5:28 am #

    To Paul listen mate with all due respect youve clearly never worked in care I’ve worked in supermarkets with no real responsibility other than to fill the shelves I can assure you it’s hardly a good night’s sleep tucked up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate sometimes it can be very hard work and draining and then when you’ve been up all night it’s still an early start regardless of how long you have been up through the night.we are responsible for another person’s life some of the people we support have very complex needs I can assure you it’s always a case of having a listening ear and never a good night’s sleep so kindly give us the respect it deserves.

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    Linda Cowan 13 Feb 2020 at 11:08 am #

    I get paid £34 per 10 hour sleepover shift. I cannot leave the premises, I worry in case I am unwell as I am lone working, I worry in case there is an emergency with my family and I cant just leave to be with them. I am responsible for 15people, mainly elderly in the event of a fire or power failure or flood. I am also responsible for the security of the building. All for £3.40 per hour!

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    kirsty 13 Feb 2020 at 11:12 am #

    Unfortunately people whom have never worked in the industry will never understand the complexities of care/ support work. As i put it to the finance bod of my company the other day, yes we may get some sleep but its never good quality. Also we are not permitted to do as we please, come or go, we have to remain in service for that and that alone we are working. I have been on sleep in, and my child has become unwell,(needing hospital treatment) could i leave and go and be with that child, NO i couldn’t, i also couldn’t get anyone to come in to relieve me, we have an on call system but that person whom is on call could be 300 miles away from me, and is absolutely of no use to me. Never mind the fact that the local authorities were/are paying enough to the care companies usually £10-12 an hour for sleep in support. but passing minimal amounts of that to the actual member of staff doing the shifts. Its just that the companies have such high overheads(overpaid managers etc and all their jolly’s in hotels for “training”) I really hope the supreme court understand the human cost of this and maybe regulate the support providers on how much they are wasting on “overheads” I also think that, should the ruling go in favour of Mencap etc that the sector will potentially collapse as supermarkets, cleaners, McDonald all pay more that the average care sector job without any of the ethical,emotional and mentally hard work that goes with it

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    Nicola Thorne 13 Feb 2020 at 3:25 pm #

    I was made to do sleep in shifts for years at a flat rate. I had the choice of the clients settee or a camp bed in the clients lounge. My shift was 4PM till 10pm sleep shift 10pm till 7am an then back to work 7am till 9.30 am. What a joke how can this be called a sleep in. I was uncomfortable every shift woke by clients above me who were regularly up in the night an had no privacy as clients could come into the lounge rightly so when ever they wanted.

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    Mike 13 Feb 2020 at 5:31 pm #

    I disagree with this to some extent. For example children’s homes have to have staff sleep in and provide bedrooms where they sleep without being disturbed or working, so that they can be up the next day living alongside the children – promoting healthy living. This is different to someone sleeping in knowing they are on call and likely to be woken in the night to work for maybe 30 mins and then sleeping again. I agree these types of sleep-ins should be paid for.
    There are different types of sleep in arrangements and one size does not fit all!

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      Joanne Gayle 18 Feb 2020 at 12:36 pm #

      When you are not able to return to your own home and family and its in your rota to stay its work! Can you invite your friends around and have a glass of wine NO can you leave to go and meet your friends NO so its work. You may only need to get up once in every 3 weeks but that is not the point its a requirement of the job and no one works for free unless its voluntary this is slave labour happening here and now!

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    Brian Wiltshire 13 Feb 2020 at 7:28 pm #

    I was a small care employer until we sold our business. I can’t comment for other places but our sleep ins were genuine sleep ins- it was very rare to be be woken. Also we only got a small amount from the local authority- so paying minimum wage would have meant running the sleep ins at a loss, especially after employers NI etc. If the local authorities had paid a fair price to care companies I personally would have loved to pass that on to staff in the form of minimum wage. I will say though that we found it very easy to fill sleep in shifts on a voluntary basis because people found it an easy way of making money- they slept in comfortable dedicated rooms and were rarely woken. Having said that I heard many stories about other places where people were routinely woken and not paid a waking night.

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    Jules 14 Feb 2020 at 7:52 am #

    If the standard of care is to be raised then sleeping nights (supposed to be) should be recognised as a working shift. As you are expected in most cases to stay on until late the next day. How good is the standard of care provided the next day when the care worker is very tired irritable also lack of consentration whilst driving the service users to hospital or appointments. You wouldnt be allowed to use machinery in a factory but can work with vulnerable children/adults
    Also ok dont pay back money from last six years but change the system from this point forward.

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    Julie 14 Feb 2020 at 9:14 am #

    Any one know the out come? Or when we will find out ?

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    Jon 14 Feb 2020 at 3:17 pm #

    this is a disgrace, social care is on it knees and is all but failing, but this issue is still not sorted since 2015! What other industry would tolerate this total lack of respect for its staff and ultimately for it service users! Look at all the cases of abuse and failing and they always blame the little people, yes they are capable but blame goes all the way to the top and thought out our society.
    Ask Mencap how much they spent on legal fees to push this out, perhaps it would have been better to spend the money on front line staff and fair wages? The blame goes way back not only to the Cons (dont care race to the bottom, want everything in private hands) and Lib Cons pact but back to New Labour (they gave staff generous in work state benefits, so private care could pay low wages make big profits but still could find staff because there wages were topped up), this is slow death spiral and it needs fixing, it called money and if, lets be radical, taxing those who have it more! Sleepins are work you cant leave you are not your own you are at work on duty! It is as simple as that!!!!

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    tina 14 Feb 2020 at 3:56 pm #

    Cambridgeshire county council will only pay £600 a week for 24hr live in care this includes all care needs in the day to someone that is totally dependent on carers and also the service user will also get you up at night this works out at £3.57 per hour. and even if you pay the carer minimum wage for hours worked during the day say 6 hrs that only leaves £2.77 for sleep in shift and this could be even less if services user needs extra help in the day its all wrong.

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    Gemma Irving 15 Feb 2020 at 8:33 am #

    Has the out come of this been released yet

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      Mike 17 Feb 2020 at 1:37 pm #

      No, the panel are now considering all the evidence since Thursday and we all await the judgement.

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    Joanne Gayle 18 Feb 2020 at 12:28 pm #

    Regardless of the fact that you may not work whilst you are sleeping in someone else’s bed, its work! You cant have your friends around to visit and you can not leave that place of work as its your duty to stay! If you was not needed to be there you would not be on a rota to stay with the client.
    These carea’s are unpaid nurses, social workers and have many more skills, its slave labour and you all know it is.

    Care companies have made a lot of money out of the Government claiming for massive packages. It was never an outcry at what these companies have made. But that’s okay because you employ people and abuse them. Pay out what you owe to these fantastic people that on the whole do an amazing job! Its wrong and the Government know its wrong….

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    N. Adams 18 Feb 2020 at 1:47 pm #

    I was a Support Worker with a major Disability Charity & Champion Organisation for the Disabled and even though I’m now a Team Leader (same organisation) I still undertake about 4 to 5 ‘Sleep permitted night-care shifts’ (SPNC shifts) and since 2017 our staff are paid National Minimum Wage (NMW) for these nine hours. Prior to 2017 the ‘organisation’ paid a flat rate of £26.82 since about 2005, the same amount! And each year, from around 2007, the staff association (will not recognise trades unions) request at least an inflationary increase to this £26.82 and every year, up until 2017, the Senior Managers & Trustees refused – was that fair? Or is it exploitation of workers on very low wages, who care for the clients they work with & need their jobs? Since 2011 to 2017, I personally worked approx. 4,500 hrs. on sleep-in shifts – which incidentally are EXTRA hours, they’re NOT contracted hours. And, neither are they part of the Annual Leave entitlement calculations! Another ‘can-of-worms’!

    It is important to realise here several hypocrisies: 1) I and my colleagues were employed in Residential Care Home settings – I still am, but some of our homes have now converted to Supported Living facilities encouraged by local authorities (this is another STORY!). Now, for sometime many care workers who have worked in Supported Living homes HAVE received NMW for undertaking night care ‘sleep’ permitted shifts and local authorities have been prepared to pay for this! Yet, when negotiating contracts for Residential Care Homes, local authorities ‘refuse’ to meet the full NMW for care workers on sleep-permitted shifts, there is no difference? Yet we have this illogical situation? 2) My employer is contracted / legally beholden to provide 24 hrs care for our clients, yet some where someone is suggesting 9 to 10 of those hours are ‘not as important’ & therefore we will not pay people properly to do them? That is NOT how the Care Quality Commission would see it, should anything go wrong! And in many cases staff are the SOLE member of staff on the premises, with all the responsibility that carries. 3) My employer’s LIABILITY INSURANCE requires staff to be on-site 24 hrs. 365 days a years, my employer MUST employ at least one member of staff to be on-site. 4) Contractually, the Commissioning local authorities are PAYING & EXPECTING there to be staff on-site 24 hrs. per day, 365 days a year 5) Under 24 hrs Care Contracts, if care staff were not on-site for the full 24 hrs per day, etc., I am assuming the Care Quality Commission would prosecute the Care Home for NON-COMPLIANCE as well as for a range of Safeguarding abuses. 6) As all Care Workers know, who undertake night care, sleep-permitted shifts, because of all that I’ve just said, we know we’re AT WORK & are RESPONSIBLE for usually at least two, & probably up to five vulnerable people and a care home: we cannot pop-out for any reason, even in an emergency, if something happens with our family at home, we must wait until cover is found, before we can leave our PLACE OF WORK! 7) The people I work with are people with severe learning disability and if they wake during the night, they will not remain in bed hoping that ‘sleep’ will take them once again, they will either shout out for reassurance or get up, so then we must be aware of their welfare & needs – in the Res. Care Homes I work in, only about 30% of night shifts are entirely uninterrupted by some issue. 8) One rarely sleeps very well & often we’ll be working to 18.00 to 19.00 the next day!!! This is the reality!

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    Claire 18 Feb 2020 at 5:36 pm #

    When will we find out the out come anybody know?

    • Avatar
      N. Adams 19 Feb 2020 at 10:25 am #

      As far as I’m aware, the Supreme Court will give their ruling in July this year (2020). Plenty of time for the Senior Managers & Trustees of the major charities & Care Companies to have luncheon & breakfast meetings with ‘influential’ members of a very sympathetic, pro-employer, anti-workers rights Government officials, who in turn will put ‘pressure’ (unethically) on the judiciary to rule ‘for’ the big Care Providers, so they don’t have to pay out to the ‘workers’. And this Government will certainly not provide any financial support to pay the ‘vulgars’. Sorry to be so cynical! I’m owed £’000s.

      Some evidence to back up my assumptions is that the CEO of the large charity / Care Provider I work for, undertook a PR visit to our services just before Christmas: this person was shown around each home by our Services Manager & the Regional Head of Operations, meeting our clients & staff that were on duty. In the Home I was working the CEO was chatting ‘over’ myself & two Support Workers, with the two ‘senior’ managers and they were talking about this coming Supreme Court hearing & obviously their concern about the possibility they may have to pay out significant amounts of money in ‘back pay’: the CEO ended the conversation by saying ‘…I had a meeting with our Barristers last week and they assured me there was nothing to worry about’. What shocked me more than anything, was that this person (the CEO) had just learnt that the three ‘shop floor’ care staff in earshot of this conversation, had moments before told this person, for how long they’d worked for the organisation – 12 years (in my case); 3 years & 30 years! Two of us were to be affected by this ruling – it didn’t seem to occur to this person in the slightest, what they’d just said. The only person who looked slightly embarrassed for a moment was our Services Manager who knows I’m very active with our staff association.

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    Andrew Davies 20 Feb 2020 at 9:18 am #

    Yes I’ve done sleepings for yrs it’s hard when you do a shift before. then a sleeping where you very rarely get a good sleep because of nois and disruptions and being woke to assist on times. Then expected to do another 8 hour shift.. We all deserve at least the minimum hourly wage for staying over night. Give us what we work hard and put our souls into we deserve it. I hope we get it soon.

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