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Care workers not entitled to min wage for sleep-in shift time

Posted by HR & Employment Team in Care HR and Employment Law

The Supreme Court has this morning dismissed appeals to pay an hourly rate for ‘sleep-in’ shifts; this will no doubt be a relief for care companies and investors alike, but a setback for carers and healthcare staff.

The ruling in the Mencap v Tomlinson-Blake case means the time a worker is required to sleep on site does not count towards minimum wage calculations.

“This ruling will be disappointing for any care worker who believes they should be paid minimum wage for the entirety of the time spent on ‘sleep-in’ shifts,” employment partner at law firm Shakespeare Martineau, Matt McDonald, said.

Implications for employers

This decision will no doubt come as a huge relief to employers in the care sector, as they could have been forced to pay substantial back payments (an estimated £400 million) if appeals were allowed by the Supreme Court.

Employers should however note the Supreme Court stating that not all workers who are allowed to take naps on shift are classed as a sleep-in worker and dependant on the facts of the case, they may be working, as opposed merely to being available for work, even if their work is only intermittent.

This judgment is the final word on the sleep-in exception in these proceedings.

However, many interested parties, including Mencap, believe that the NMW legislation covering sleep-in payments is outdated, unfair and they are calling on the Government for reform.

For advice around this topic, please give us a call on 0161 603 2156 for a free, no-obligation chat around how we can protect your business.

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