Five Bristol Care Workers Talk About Sleep Shifts

We asked five Bristol social care workers about their experiences of sleeping night shifts. This is what they said:

“One thing that really effects me after a sleep-in is the back pain I
suffer. I have a firm good quality mattress at home to help support my
back. Unfortunately, all the sleep-in mattresses are cheap ones that
have a people of a variety of sizes, shapes, and weights sleeping on
them each night. I wake up in agony and then have to work my shift. My
sleep-in rate after tax does not even cover the amount I spend on a
single massage to help ease the pain.”

“Sleep-ins have a detrimental effect on my social life! I have lost
count of the occasions I have committed to attending an event on my
day off but been kept up all night during my sleep-in and had to
cancel due to literally being so exhausted that I couldn’t do anything
but sleep when I got home. I have missed weddings, Birthdays, day
trips etc.”

“There have been many times I have had a sleepless night during a
sleep-in and then have the responsibility to administer medication to
clients. In recent years there have been criminal prosecution charges
brought against others who have given the wrong amount of medication
that I administer to my clients””Sleep-ins have a detrimental effect on my social life! I have lost count of the occasions I have committed to attending an event on my
day off but been kept up all night during my sleep-in and had to
cancel due to literally being so exhausted that I couldn’t do anything
but sleep when I got home. I have missed weddings, Birthdays, day
trips etc.”

“Currently, I am paid below £55 for working a 10-hour sleep-in. This
makes my hourly rate of pay well below minimum wage. As well as being
grossly underpaid, sleep-ins often affect my days off. For an example
if I am knocked during the night on an ‘end of shift’ sleep-in, I
firstly have broken sleep which I understand is part of my role,
however, this then often results in disrupting my personal time and I
then have to use one of my few days off to recover. This often
negatively affects my social life and personal time.”

“Sleep-ins have contributed to relationship breakups, Support Workers
like myself already work unsociable hours and often are working when
our partners are off, this puts enough strain on a relationship as it
is. Then you add the fact that you can’t even share the same bed
several times a week into the mix and the final nail in the
relationship coffin comes when you finally get a day off together and
all you want to do is sleep all day to make up for the lost sleep you
have had to endure during your sleep-in shifts”

Sleep shifts damage our health, our relationships, and take over our lives outside of work. The idea that we shouldn’t be paid for sleep shifts is a joke.

Care work is work. Sleep shifts are work. Help fight for fair pay for sleep shift workers:

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