Supreme Court grants appeal that could affect thousands of sleep-in workers

On 12 February 2019 the Supreme Court granted permission to appeal in the conjoined appeals of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake and Shannon v Rampersad.

The Court of Appeal held in July 2018 that sleep-in residential care workers are only entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage for time when they are awake and “actually working.” When they are asleep, the Court of Appeal found they were only “available for work” and not entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage. See a more detailed analysis of the judgment from Nathaniel Caiden here.

The Court of Appeal judgment ran contrary to established jurisprudence and the general practice (including HMRC enforcement approaches) that had developed whereby sleep-in workers would be paid the National Minimum Wage while asleep. However, the Supreme Court will now consider whether this practice is correct.

The appeal raises a point of national importance which could affect an hundreds of thousands of low-paid individuals. An estimated 655,000 individuals employed in residential adult social care in England alone.

Caspar Glyn QC and Chesca Lord act for Mr Shannon.