Cheshire East Council is today announcing proposals to backdate pay to staff following a landmark legal ruling on the National Minimum Wage. This ruling applies to rates of pay for workers who are required to work ‘sleep-in shifts’. This is where an individual is required to be on duty and is considered to be ‘at work’ even if sleeping.
The landmark employment tribunal ruling in May this year ruled that the charity Mencap and others had underpaid its staff by giving them a flat-rate overnight sleep-in allowance, rather than paying at or above the national minimum wage for each of those hours, even if asleep. This ruling is currently subject to appeal, but Cheshire East Council is complying with the law as it stands now. The ruling typically applies to care staff sleeping-in in overnight shifts in care homes or in individuals’ homes as carers. Those care staff may have been able to sleep through the night, but were available to be woken in the night and provide care as necessary.
The ruling will apply to employers including charities, commercial residential and nursing home operators and councils all over the country. It will affect Cheshire East Council, just as it does every other council employing staff providing such social care and other such overnight sleep-in roles. Cheshire East Council is today announcing that it has completed its initial assessment, reviewed its policy, and is proposing a solution moving forwards to our staff trade unions and the individuals concerned.
The majority of staff the council has identified as affected over the last two years are in the Care4ce domiciliary care team, as well as a handful of other roles including some staff at Tatton Park. All affected staff will receive a letter confirming the payments due and how it was calculated as well as receiving their arrears of pay going back two years in their October salaries.
Councillor Paul Findlow, cabinet member for corporate policy and legal services said: “We have undertaken an extensive review to establish exactly who this ruling affects and how much each individual is owed. Cheshire East Council is a responsible employer – we respect and value all our employees and want to ensure that they are paid fairly for the valuable work they do.”