The Supreme Court has upheld a 2018 Court of Appeal decision that social care workers who sleep during night shifts are entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW) only when they are awake and supporting people who require overnight support services. The long-awaited decision ends a legal process which began in 2016 and has faced appeals over the years.
Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive of The Association, commented:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling provides welcome legal clarity but highlights the needs for fair pay for care workers and further emphasises the need for social care reform. The case and the long-awaited decision has revealed the fragility of the social care market and shown that there is a need for urgent action which ensures that the workforce that is providing care and support are paid appropriately and are valued for the essential work they do.
“This is why we are calling for a long-term, sufficiently resourced Social Care People Plan and also government support for the social care sector, which has continued to show its value alongside the NHS in supporting people in the community.”
In her role as Chair of the Care Provider Alliance, which represents over half of the social care sector employees through its ten trade associations, Kathy added:
“Unlike many other businesses, staffing costs make up more than 70% of the total budget for services we provide to people in our communities. Existing levels of funding from central government to support our workforce are widely understood to be insufficient and unsustainable.”
“Sir Andrew Dilnot commented in Oct 2020 that “for social care, we have had 20 years of promises but inaction’ alongside the main recommendations in the latest Health and Social Care Committee’s report ifor the Government to invest £7bn more per year in Adult Social care provision.
“So, regardless of today’s ruling, we must not lose sight of the need for a longer-term solution for all people who work in social care.”
Read the full CPA statement here.