William Eichler 13 July 2018

Court reverses £400m sleep-in shift ruling

Court reverses £400m sleep-in shift ruling  image

Council leaders have welcomed the Court of Appeal ruling that social care providers will no longer be required to pay £400m in backpay to carers doing sleep-in shifts.

A tribunal last year ruled that support workers who do sleep-in shifts should be paid the hourly minimum wage for the periods they are asleep.

It also ordered providers to pay their carers six years of back pay, a figure which added up to £400m.

This ruling was a blow to the already struggling care sector, which is being squeezed between an ageing population and central Government cuts in local authority funding.

A poll conducted in May by Agenda Consulting and Towers & Hamlins LLP found 68% of the care providers surveyed said their organisation would be unviable if they were required to pay six years of back pay.

Around 34% warned this would be the case if it was only two years worth of back pay.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'This ruling will come as a relief to care providers and councils because it removes considerable uncertainty and a potential considerable unfunded burden on top of already significant financial pressures on the adult social care sector.

'We now need urgent clarity on all enforcement action for back payments when the National Minimum Wage wasn’t paid to ensure that no provider will face further action.'

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, also welcomed today’s decision by the Court of Appeal.

‘We welcome the Appeal Court ruling and hope we can now move forward, without a huge back pay liability hanging over the sector and threatening the ongoing care of thousands, to ensure we focus on getting social care services funded properly for the future,’ he said.

Matthew Wort, partner at the legal firm that represented Care England, Anthony Collins Solicitors, commented: ‘The magnitude of this ruling should not be underestimated, particularly as the care sector is already forecast to face a £2bn funding gap by 2020.

‘Challenging the original findings of Mencap vs Tomlinson-Blake EAT, our argument was clear: under the current National Minimum Wage rules those undertaking sleep-in shifts should not be considered as working whilst asleep.’

However, Mr Wort warned there was more work to do. He urged the Government to update the guidance on how workers are paid for sleep-in shifts.

‘In order to deliver the best care, the UK system must balance the needs of both providers and workers, rewarding staff fairly for the work they do,’ he said.

‘Now, Government must update their guidance on how workers are to be paid for sleep-ins, while ensuring adequate funding is made available to safeguard the future of the sector and the people it cares for.’

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis described the decision as a ‘mistake’, but stressed that the blame was at the Government’s door.

‘This judgment is a mistake, but let’s be clear where the fault lies,’ he said.

‘The blame for this sorry state of affairs that’s hitting some of the country’s lowest paid workers must be laid at the Government’s door.

‘Ministers are so consumed by Brexit that they’re ignoring huge problems around them.

‘Social care is in crisis, and this situation wouldn’t have arisen if the Government had put enough money into the system and enforced minimum wage laws properly.’

Declaring a climate change emergency image

Declaring a climate change emergency

Local authorities can play a key role in tackling climate change – and there is plenty for them to do. Never before has thinking globally and acting locally been more important, says Mark Whitehead.
Open letter to Boris Johnson image

Open letter to Boris Johnson

The MJ's editor Heather Jameson asks the new PM a simple question: do you want to fund local government or do you want to scale back services to the basics?
Highways jobs

DEPUTY DIRECTOR

City of Bradford MDC
£102K
Big and diverse, Bradford is the UK’s youngest city Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Senior Financial Accountant

Essex County Council
£50001.0 - £59590 per annum
Essex County Council is one the largest and most complex local authorities in the UK, with a turnover of £2bn. We are a Council with high ambitions, a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Financial Accountant

Essex County Council
£38001.0 - £44440 per annum
Essex County Council is one the largest and most complex local authorities in the UK, with a turnover of £2bn. We are a Council with high ambitions, a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Practitioner - Children in Care

Essex County Council
£38000.0 - £46000.0 per annum
Senior Practitioner - Children in Care - BasildonIn ECC we are "Serious about Social Work". Having recently won the Best Social Work Employer of the Y England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Casual Lifeguard

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 3 - £9.29 per hour
South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre is a large, multi-purpose complex accommodating a swimming pool, a sports hall, two further halls, Fitness Roo... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The June issue of Local Government News contains the full details of all the winning schemes in the 2019 Street Design Awards. From Children's Play to Pedestrian Environment, find out who has been recognised for their innovation and use of best practice.

This issue also explores how local government pension funds can hedge currency risk, how councils can best address the shortfall in school places, and an update on the number of authorities banning the use of Roundup over safety fears.

Register for your free magazine