Sleep-in carers should get minimum wage, top UK court told

Carers in the United Kingdom who have to sleep at their workplace in case they are needed overnight should be paid minimum wage for their whole shift, Supreme Court justices have heard in London.

In a case that could cost the UK care industry billions if it is decided in favour of workers, lawyers told a panel of five judges that carers who work so-called sleep-in shifts are “like a night watchman”.

The court is considering the case of Claire Tomlinson-Blake, a Mencap support worker in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

She is challenging a 2018 Court of Appeal ruling in favour of her employer, the Royal Mencap Society, which concluded that carers were only entitled to minimum wage when they were required to be awake for work – and not while asleep.

That ruling had overturned a 2015 Employment Tribunal decision, which ruled that such workers were entitled to minimum wage payment for the entirety of their shift.

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