Care providers following the Mencap case with interest will be relieved that the case has finally reached its conclusion with the handing down of its judgment, over a year after the case was heard.
The Supreme Court has confirmed the earlier Court of Appeal decision and there will undoubtedly be a sigh of relief that the judgment doesn’t reinstate the financial and administrative burdens that were imposed by earlier court decisions.
Sleep ins have been the subject of much debate over the last few years and were originally the subject of an employment tribunal challenge by an employee of Mencap and another care provider.
It has long been the case that care workers have been required to carry out ‘sleep ins’ as part of their work. A sleep in is a period of time that must be spent at a specific location (usually a residential or private home) but during which a worker is permitted to sleep until such time as they are required for work.
The crux of the matter has been whether those required to work sleep in shifts are entitled to payment of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the entirety of that shift, rather than only for the period of time such worker is awake for the purposes of working.
Care providers will take comfort from the Supreme Court’s judgment that they can continue to pay workers NMW only for the period of time that the worker is awake and working.
The Supreme Court judgment will unsurprisingly not come as good news to those front line staff in the care sector who are actually carrying out sleep ins, given the fact that the care sector is already considered a low paid sector.
For further information, please contact a member of the team.