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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Any new system of funding social care will be capped, Jeremy Hunt has confirmed, in his first policy speech since he took responsibility for social care reform in January. He also pledged to find new ways to support councils struggling to meet the demands of a rapidly ageing population in the green paper on social care due this summer.
Addressing a conference of social workers, the health and social care secretary said: “The way that our current charging system operates is far from fair. This is particularly true for families faced with the randomness and unpredictability of care, and the punitive consequences that come from developing certain conditions over others.
“If you develop dementia and require long-term residential care you are likely to have to use a significant chunk of your savings and the equity in your home to pay for that care. But if you require long-term treatment for cancer you won’t find anything like the same cost.”
Asked directly if that meant there would be a cap on what any individual had to pay, he replied: “Yes.”
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Scientists in Oxford are inviting members of the public to a free event on Saturday 17 March to hear more about current progress in dementia research.
The meeting will involve talks from scientists at the forefront of research into the condition.
The event is organised by members of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Network Centre, a community of dementia researchers from universities across the region.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity, funding research into the causes of dementia, diagnosis, preventions and treatments. They fund more than £27m of dementia research across the UK, including pioneering work at the universities of Oxford, Oxford Brookes, and the University of Reading. The funding is allowing scientists in the region to uncover more about causes of dementia and contribute to the global effort to put a stop to the heartbreak of the condition.
Speakers on the day include Dr Francesco Tamagnini, from the University of Reading whose research involves exploring the causes of Alzheimer’s disease by measuring the electrical activity in brain’s memory centre. Also speaking is Dr Timothy Johanssen, who will talk about exciting new initiatives that are accelerating research towards new treatments for dementia. Attendees will get a chance to hear from Marianne Talbot, the author of ‘Keeping Mum – Caring for Someone with Dementia’. There will also be stalls with free information about dementia and how people can get involved in research studies.
The free event is being held from 10.00am – 1:00pm on Saturday 17 March at the Academic Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DU. Refreshments will be provided, and parking is available (hospital charges apply). To find out more go to http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/our-research/what-we-do/meet-our-scientists/ and you can also book your place by contacting Mel Witt at email@example.com or 01865 282358.
The Government has announced an extra £150m for social care which ‘will be allocated according to relative needs’.
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid
However social care chiefs have said it “is not going to make a great deal of difference” and have criticised the extra injection of cash as a “sticking plaster over a gaping wound”.
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, has made the extra money available following publication of the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2018 to 2019.
In a statement to Parliament, he said: “I recognise the need to prioritise spending on social care services that councils provide to our elderly and vulnerable citizens. This is why we announced an additional £2 billion at Spring Budget 2017 for adult social care over the three years from 2017-18. This year we have seen how this money has enabled councils to increase provider fees, provide for more care packages and reduce delayed transfer of care.
“And, having listening to representations since the provisional settlement, I am today announcing a further £150 million in 2018-19 for an Adult Social Care Support Grant. This will be taken from anticipated underspend in existing departmental budgets, and will not affect existing revenue commitments made to local government. This will be allocated according to relative needs and we will expect to see councils use it to build on their progress so far in supporting sustainable local care markets.”
Margaret Willcox, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), called all money “welcome” and said: “We will make the most of what we get, but considering councils need more than £2bn just to stand still in 2018-19, this is not going to make a great deal of difference.
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