Mencap loses appeal against ruling that it was wrong to have paid a support worker £29.05 for nine-hour sleep-in shift.
The learning disability charity Mencap has said it could face a financial crisis if it is forced to pay the minimum wage to 5,000 staff while they sleep at the homes of people they support in case they are needed during the night.
The charity lost an appeal against a ruling that it was wrong to have paid a support worker £29.05 for a nine-hour sleep-in shift, or just under £3.23 an hour. The statutory minimum is £7.50 an hour.
Mencap said it was not against paying its care workers “properly”, and was seeking to raise their rates in the longer term, but that it was not paid enough by the councils and NHS bodies that commission it to support disabled people.
John Cowman, the charity’s director of services, wrote in a blogpost: “This judgment could leave the organisation in financial crisis, at worst leading to insolvency and at best we may have to consider moving out of providing services altogether, which would create huge job uncertainty for our colleagues.
“Unless we get clarity on what the law is telling us to do, and providers get the proper funding, the sector and everyone who relies on it is at serious risk. We are sleepwalking into a complete collapse of social care for some of the people who need it most.”
The judgment against Mencap is the latest twist in a wider battle over payment of sleep-in workers in the care sector. Standard practice has been to pay a flat sum for a shift, plus the minimum hourly rate for time when the worker is roused to help the person they support.