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Sigh of relief from employers; Supreme Court rules no NMW for sleep-shifts

The Supreme Court has dismissed appeals to pay hourly sleep-in shifts for care workers which will be a huge relief for care companies and investors but a disappointment for carers and healthcare staff.

The ruling in the Mencap v Tomlinson-Blake case means that the time a worker is required to sleep on site does not count towards minimum wage calculations.

The case was brought by Clare Tomlinson-Blake and focused on whether home workers who are required to remain at home in their shift and/or residential care workers who ‘sleep in’ are entitled to the national minimum wage for time that is not spent actually performing some specific activity.

Mencap contested the case because they believe that sleep-ins are a statutory care service that should be funded by local authorities and the government. They have called on the government to reform the current legislation covering sleep-in payments and do a review of the social care system to, ultimately, put more money into it.

Irina Polyakova, employment law expert at Eaton Smith solicitors said; “The Supreme Court has confirmed that the time a worker is required to sleep on site or nearby doesn’t count towards the NMW calculations and the NMW is only payable to the extent that the employees are awake for the purposes of working and the entire shift is not necessarily to be taken into account for this purpose. This is indeed a relief for employers in this sector.”

If you require any employment law advice contact Irina on 01484 821 300 or at