Supreme Court Challenge to Pay Care Workers the Minimum Wage

by John Patrick Shannon

Supreme Court Challenge to Pay Care Workers the Minimum Wage

by John Patrick Shannon
John Patrick Shannon
Case Owner
I’m 69 years old, retired, but for 20 years I was exploited as a Care Worker! For the last six years I’ve been fighting for what we are all entitled to, the Minimum Wage. Just £8.21 an hour!
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John Patrick Shannon
Case Owner
I’m 69 years old, retired, but for 20 years I was exploited as a Care Worker! For the last six years I’ve been fighting for what we are all entitled to, the Minimum Wage. Just £8.21 an hour!
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This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

If you believe that sleep-in care workers - those that are present overnight and respond to call-outs, providing critical support to some of the most vulnerable people in society - should be paid a minimum wage, please support our legal challenge in the Supreme Court by contributing now and sharing this page with your friends, family and on social media. 

According to a 2018 Skills for Care report, some 685,000 people are employed in adult residential care in England alone. We are typically low paid workers. Thousands, like me during my working life, are required to be present overnight and respond to call-outs if required. In the industry we are known as “sleep-ins.”

Historically, sleep-in workers might only have been paid a fixed allowance per shift. This might work out at only a couple of pounds per hour over the shift, when workers are expected to be away from their families and to wake up and deal with emergencies. There have been a number of cases since 2002 which said that “sleep-in” workers should be paid the NMW even when they asleep.

The courts have said that where a worker is:

1. required to be at the place of work

2. could be disciplined for leaving

3. had to respond when called upon

then they were “working” even at times when they were allowed to sleep, and should be paid appropriately.

Government guidance was updated to reflect this approach and we were moving towards sleep-in residential care workers being paid fairly, i.e. the NMW for all the hours where they were at work and required to respond when called upon.

Case Background 

My name is John. I was employed as a “live-in on-call” (sleep-in) care worker. I had to be present for the handover at 8.30pm each evening and remain on site until 7am the next day.

I worked seven days a week and 52 weeks of the year and I was not given paid holidays. 

I brought an Employment Tribunal claim in 2013 seeking payment of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for all the hours I had been engaged as a sleep-in care worker.

Although I have lost on this point at each stage I now have permission to have the matter decided by the Supreme Court once and for all. If I win this case it will have a profound impact on the lives of thousands of carers across the country. But I can't do it without your help. Please contribute now and most importantly share this page with your friends, family and on social media. 

However, in July 2018, the Court ruled (in my case) that residential care workers who had to remain on site and provide care if needed, were only entitled to be paid the NMW when they were awake and “actually working,” not at times when they were permitted to sleep.

I believe that the Court decision is wrong. If an employer needs a certain number of people present to meet their regulatory obligations and ensure patient/resident safety, the workers protecting these, often vulnerable, individuals deserve to be paid fairly.

How much I am raising and why? 

The aim is to continue the fight for sleep in workers to be paid the NMW through to the Supreme Court, and overturn the Court of Appeal judgment that will (if it has not already) potentially wipe hundreds if not thousands of pounds from the pay cheques of tens of thousands of already low-paid workers.

The crowdfunding will cover the;

· liabilities in the event of losing

· respondents' Court of Appeal legal fees which I have been ordered to pay as a result of fighting the case this far

My team has estimated future Supreme Court costs could end up at c. £110,000, this is how the system stops us fighting. This is partly what the loss of legal aid has created. Please help me fight.

Please contribute whatever you can. 


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