Published on Tuesday, 14th August 2018


The Court of Appeal has overturned a ruling that had inflated the cost of providing care services. The original decision, issued last year, required staff to be paid the national living wage for sleeping nights. These are night shifts where the worker sleeps through the night, but is available to help if an incident occurs, which of course generally it does not. 


Historically, these had typically been paid at a flat rate of say £30, but a court decided this breached minimum wage regulations. The total effect on Portsmouth City Council’s budget was about £500,000 per year.


Care workers are generally poorly paid and it is hard to begrudge them the extra money. The problem is that the council just doesn’t have the extra cash and needs to reduce spending and not increase it. The Court of Appeal’s decision, which is that the National Living Wage does not have to be paid, has the potential to help reduce the pressure on the social care budget. 


At this stage, I don’t know whether the council is going to reduce payments to the previous level. For financial reasons, I suspect it will have to at some point and that will hit lowly paid workers. It’s hard to see what the alternative is.


Tags: Social Care