The Supreme Court has today handed down judgment in the cases of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake and Shannon v Rampersad (t/a Clifton House residential Home). 

In a very clear decision, the Supreme Court found that it is only time spent awake and working during a sleep-in that counts as working time for National Minimum Wage (NMW) purposes. Today’s judgement therefore puts an end to many years of uncertainty. For further analysis of the judgment please see our briefing here

While the Supreme Court’s decision means UK care providers no longer face a potentially catastrophic financial outcome that could have jeopardised the care of thousands of people, the issue of the long-term stability of the UK social care sector remains. Central government needs to increase its investment in the social care sector, to enable providers to remunerate staff appropriately for the work they do. We believe that the sector should continue to lobby for a regulated minimum rate for time spent sleeping to be set. 

In the meantime, I would suggest that providers consider taking the following steps:

  • Communicate the final decision to your staff confirming your proposed approach going forward.  
  • Seek assurance from commissioners that funding will continue so that you do not have to change payment arrangements.
  • Review your sleep-ins to assess what payments you want to and are able to commit to going forward.
  • Lobby with care sector umbrella bodies for a minimum rate for sleep-ins with appropriate funding.

If you require further advice on this issue, assistance with preparing your communications to staff and/or commissioners and reviewing your arrangements, please do get in touch.