The National Association of Care & Support Workers (NACAS) has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to grant carers the right to appeal in the ongoing sleep-in shift legal battle with mental health charity Mencap, but has called on the Government to fund back payments.
Karolina Gerlich co-founder and CEO of NACAS said that the expectation on employers to pay for years of unfunded sleep-in shifts was “unrealistic”, but explained that it is association’s continued belief that care workers are entitled to be paid “at least a national minimum wage” for time spent at work from this point forward.
Explaining the realities of a sleep-in shift, she said: “Most care workers are required to be at work in some instances for up to 12 hours a night, in an uncomfortable environment often consisting of an office and a sofa bed.
“Care workers very often can barely get an hour of uninterrupted sleep, due to the anticipation of being awoken to attend to the person they care for, or not being able to fall back asleep after being awake. It is therefore only fair that a sleep-in shift is considered as a working hours shift.”
Gerlich said that any back payments, especially those from small and medium independently run providers, should be funded by the Government as “they may push those business into bankruptcy, which may lead to the loss of jobs”.
“We have previously called on the UK Government to show leadership on this matter, to ensure that care workers get a fair deal and that employers are supported in the process,” she added.
“Therefore, we would like to call on Secretary of State Matt Hancock and the Minister of Social Care Caroline Dinenage to show leadership by initiating dialogue with care workers on this issue as a matter of urgency, to ensure that all care workers get a fair and better deal.”