The court of appeal has overturned a ruling on payments for care workers who carry outÂ â€œsleep-inâ€ shiftsÂ for clients with learning disabilities, potentially averting a crisis that employers claim would have jeopardised the care of vulnerable people.
A court ruled last year that care workers should be paid the national minimum wage (NMW) for every hour of a sleep-in shift, rather than a flat rate â€“ in effect doubling the cost of a shift to Â£60. It said providers should be liable for six years of back-pay to carers.
On Friday, the court reversed the back-pay decision and ruled flat-rate payments were fair, meaning sleep-in shift care workers could receive the full rate only for those hours during which they were awake and assisting the client.
Employers welcomed the ruling, saying the back-pay liability, collectively estimated at about Â£400m, would haveÂ bankrupted many providers. But they called on the government to issue new guidance on how workers are to be paid for sleep-in shifts, and properly fund the costs.
Local authorities â€“ which fund the cost of sleep-in shifts through theirÂ adult social careÂ budgets â€“ were relieved by the ruling, though they said clarity was needed over future costs. Councils in England face an estimatedÂ Â£2bn funding gapÂ in adult social care. More
Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle: ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45