Sleeping on the Job

Landmark ruling from the Court of Appeal on whether night shift workers who are required to ‘sleep in’ at work are entitled to be paid the national minimum wage for their whole shift, including time spent sleeping.


The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 convey that the number of hours worked, is required in order to calculate a worker’s average hourly pay.


In the case of Mencap v Tomlinson Blake, the Court of Appeal ruled that workers who sleep overnight at their workplace, whether that be a care home or a Client’s home, will only be entitled to have sleep hours counted for minimum wage purposes whilst they are carrying out their duties and not for the full duration of their sleep-in shift.


Therefore, the National Minimum Wage will only apply to sleep-in shifts when the worker is awake for the purpose of working.


In a statement released by the Royal Mencap Society, the Chair Derek Lewis stated that the prospect of having to make ‘back payments had threatened to bankrupt many providers, jeopardising the care of vulnerable people and the employment of their carers.’


Derek expressed that Mencap ‘did not want to bring this case’ and it is clear ‘that dedicated care workers deserve a better deal.’ Therefore, despite the court’s ruling, Derek has confirmed that Mencap will continue to pay a higher rate for sleep-ins.


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