Two thirds of care businesses have been saved from bankruptcy after the Court of Appeal overturned a government decision that those on sleep-in shift should earn minimum wage. Over 200 charities, such as Mencap, faced a £400 million settlement following published new guidance from two employment tribunals.
Care England Chief Executive, Professor Martin Green, said: “The decision on sleep-in’s is good news for the care sector. “If care providers had been forced to pay the living wage for sleep-in’s many of them would have gone out of business and services to people with learning disabilities would have been decimated.” Charities warned vulnerable people would lose ‘vital’ care because of the settlement fees.
Mencap, the charity who brought on the appeal, said 5,500 of individuals they support would be affected with some from other charities losing support altogether.
Derek Lewes, Chair of the Royal Mencap Society, said: “We did not want to bring this case. We had to do so because of the mayhem throughout the sector that would have been caused by previous court decisions and Government enforcement action, including serious damage to Mencap’s work in supporting people with learning disabilities.” The court said only hours carers spent ‘awake and active’ counted as work, ruling in favour of the appeal by the social care sector. It is predicted there will be a £2 billion funding deficit by 2020 in the face of growing demand.
By Tamara Birch