Carers not entited to minimum wage for sleep-in shifts.
Carers who have to sleep at their workplace in case they are needed overnight will not be paid minimum hourly rates after a Court of Appeal ruling.
In a decision which could have cost the UK care industry billions if it had gone in favour of workers, three leading judges said carers were only entitled to minimum wage when they were required to be awake for work.
At a hearing in March, the Royal Mencap Society challenged a tribunal decision made in favour of Claire Tomlinson-Blake, a Mencap support worker in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
The court was told that Mrs Tomlinson-Blake received a salary for her full-time job helping vulnerable adults living in their own homes, and sometimes had to work a sleep-in shift between 10pm and 7am. For those shifts she was paid an allowance of £29.05, which included pay for an hour’s work.
If she was woken in the night and had to work for more than an hour, she would receive extra pay for the time worked.
But the Employment Tribunal found she used her “listening ear” and her experience to know when she was needed, and was “working” even when she was asleep.
The tribunal said she was entitled to receive an hourly minimum wage, which would have been more than £60 per shift, a decision upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) last year.
However Lord Justice Underhill, sitting with two other senior judges, said: “For the reasons which I have given I believe that sleepers-in… are to be characterised for the purpose of the regulations as available for work… rather than actually working and so fall within the terms of the sleep-in exception.
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