The UK’s care sector has been thrown a lifeline as Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has won the right to intervene in the Court of Appeal’s sleep-in-shift case – with the hope of solving the impending £400million financial crisis for care providers.
With the hearing set for 20-21 March this year, law firm Anthony Collins Solicitors are acting for Care England, with the body given the opportunity to pursue new arguments not yet considered in the Royal Mencap Society vs Tomlinson-Blake Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) case to date.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive at Care England, which has 160 members providing over 3,500 care services, said:
“I cannot stress the magnitude of this opportunity for our members and the care industry as a whole. If the existing decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal is upheld it would be a watershed moment for the sector, with profound affects for the viability of residential domiciliary and supported care which supports 1.2 million vulnerable people across the country.
“We argue for a comprehensible, predictable, and workable interpretation of the sleep-in-shift regulations that do not give rise to the potentially crippling multi-million pound consequences for the sector. They should enable providers and their workers to deliver the best care possible.”
The Mencap vs Tomlinson-Blake EAT ruling found care providers such as the Royal Mencap Society must pay the National Minumum Wage (NMW) throughout a sleep-in-shift, triggering a £400million industry back payment and £200milliion increase in yearly costs from 2020 onwards. The Government has established a Social Care Compliance Scheme to ensure back pay is paid and the Government receive the related tax revenue. A successful appeal would call into question the need for the SCCS scheme.
Matthew Wort, Partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors, added:
“Surveys have shown that, in practice, on average only 1% of time in sleep-in-shifts is spent working.”
“The intervention by Care England introduces other arguments that have not been considered in the case to date. The intention of Parliament from the introduction of the National Minimum Wage Regulations was always that people carrying out sleep-ins would only be paid when they are awake and working and we are hopeful that the Court of Appeal will be persuaded to interpret the legislation in that way”.