Charities and care companies that have paid staff one-off payments for overnight sleep-ins should not be exempt from paying the national minimum wage, says UNISON.
Claims for back pay could cost the sector £400m according to Mencap. UNISON believes care workers should be paid at least the minimum wage for work they have already done and employers should foot the bill.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Charities and care companies have bid for contracts for years knowing they should be paying at least the national minimum wage for staff who do sleep-ins.
“Employers can’t now plead poverty and ask for an exemption from the law based on their own poor planning. The staff have done the work – now they should be paid for it.
“It’s the government’s failure to fund social care properly that is causing so many problems in the sector, not the staff who do such valuable work with vulnerable people.”