Securing the future of overnight ‘sleep in’ support

VODG has been campaigning on the issue of sleep in payments for many years.

We have repeatedly called on the government to resolve the inconsistent and confusing way in which overnight support – where staff sleep through the night but are on site to respond to requests for care if needed – is paid and funded.

The current situation fails to fully recognise the contribution that staff make to improving people’s lives.

The latest impasse on sleep in payments relates to a Court of Appeal judgment last year (in the joined cases of Mencap v Tomlinson-Blake and Shannon v Rampersad in July 2018) that overturned a previous decision. The latest judgment meant that sleep in workers do not have to be paid the national minimum wage throughout the night. However, this could change now Unison is granted its recent Supreme Court application to challenge the Court of Appeal judgment. The uncertainty will disrupt investment in services and also puts a strain on employer and employee relations.

The campaign calls on government to introduce a statutory instrument to legislate once and for all so that all parties are clear on what the rate of pay should be for sleep in shifts.

Without clarity, local commissioners and care providers will react in an ad hoc and uncoordinated ways and this situation could lead to irretrievable developments such as service closures.

VODG is committed to ensuring that:

  • the future of essential overnight services for people who rely on them are secured – with a sustainable market and workforce to support people at night
  • the ongoing disruption and distraction on this issue ceases – through clear government action and guidance
  • commissioners, providers and the workforce are clear on the future provision, and costs, for sleep in support – with detailed and consistent guidance.

Read VODG’s full position statement here. VODG has shared its position statement with responsible Ministers.