CARERS who have to sleep in their workplace, in case they are needed overnight, should be paid minimum wage for their time, the Supreme Court justices heard.
In a case that could cost the UK care industry billions, a panel of five judges were told staff on so-called sleep-in shifts are ‘like a nightwatchman’.
Claire Tomlinson-Blake, a Mencap support worker from the East Riding of Yorkshire, is challenging a Court of Appeal ruling in July 2018 that concluded carers were entitled to only the minimum wage when they were required to be awake for work — and not while asleep.
Ms Tomlinson-Blake is 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 she worked. Sean Jones QC, representing Ms Tomlinson-Blake, told the Supreme Court that, during a ‘good shift’, carers did not have to do anything.
But he added: ‘Their job is to be there to identify when a task arises and to identify who is the person responsible for dealing with it.’
He said those in Ms Tomlinson-Blake’s situation were getting less than minimum wage for the shifts they work, and that being paid the minimum hourly rate is ‘not a path to riches’. Mencap is opposing the appeal.
Care England, which represents independent care providers, has said the case could cost the sector £400million in back-dated pay and £200million a year from 2020. The hearing concludes today.
Families falling deeper into poverty, report warns
POOR families are deeper in poverty than they were in 2013, a study claims.
After housing costs, they are on an average of £73 a week below the poverty line — up from £56 seven years ago — reports the Child Poverty Action Group.
And the number of children in poverty in households where parents work full-time has doubled to 400,000 in the same period. The report, based on government data, ‘should sound alarm bells’ at No.10, said the charity.