Sleep In Shifts and Pay
In Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake, the Supreme Court has held that workers on sleep-in shifts were only entitled to the national minimum wage in respect of hours in which they were required to be awake for the purposes of working, not for the whole shift.
There has been uncertainty for some time about how employees should be paid whilst they are on shifts where they will sleep-in for part of their role. This decision may go some way to settling any uncertainty. The judgment of the Supreme Court now provides that for the purposes of establishing the right to the national minimum wage, the law does not envisage that an employee is actually working if they are present and asleep on the premises. Therefore, a sleep-in worker will not be doing time work if they are on the premises potentially asleep but not actually performing work.
This decision will have a particularly large impact on employers in the care sector, who will no longer be liable for wages where an employee sleeps for part of their shift. However, this case was particularly focused on employees who were required to sleep on premises, so there may yet be further litigation concerning employees who are on call based at home.
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