Secure overnight ‘sleep in’ funding as sector waits for Supreme Court hearing

The funding and payment of overnight sleep in work has created huge uncertainty for staff and employers alike in recent years.

The current legal situation is that the national minimum wage does not apply for time spent asleep and available at work, and regulations regarding pay only apply when staff are awake for working. However, this could change as the Supreme Court appeal is scheduled for 12 and 13 February 2020. Following VODG’s earlier statement, Minister’s in the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have confirmed their position.

Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive at VODG said:

“While we wait for the legal case to be heard, commissioners and providers should be working together to ensure stability in the provision of overnight services. This collaboration is happening in a number of areas. But in other areas there are examples of knee jerk reductions in the fees commissioners pay to providers for overnight support. These fee reductions risk damaging services and adding further pressure to the sector’s workforce retention and recruitment challenges.”

VODG wants the government to clarify what staff are entitled to, and precisely how it, and commissioners, will fund this. VODG is calling on government to:

  • consult widely with workers, employers, commissioners and other stakeholders on an appropriate rate of pay for sleeping at work and, through a statutory instrument or other means, introduce a rate of pay for time spent asleep
  • instruct the Low Pay Commission to, each year, consult, review and recommend a rate for time spent asleep.

Read the full position statement here.