“You’re paid to do what?!”

The ongoing conversation of whether sleep-in shifts qualify for the National Minimum Wage (‘NMW’) has finally been put to bed (no pun intended).

Today, the Supreme Court held that the time a worker is required to sleep on site or nearby does NOT count towards minimum wage calculations.

So, what does this actually mean? It means that sleep-in care workers are only entitled to be paid the NMW when they are awake for the purposes of working, not when they are permitted to sleep. Therefore, if your employee is woken infrequently on a shift, you are only entitled to pay them the NMW for when they are woken for the purposes of work.

An example provided in the judgement is where “the employer has given the worker the hours in question as time to sleep and the only requirement on the worker is to respond to emergency calls, the worker’s time in those hours is not included in the NMW calculation for time work unless the worker actually answers an emergency call. In that event, the time he spends answering the call is included.” – Lady Arden.

This will be a huge sigh of relief for care organisations, particularly those who were worried about back pay claims. Having said that, we also cannot help but think how hard this news will hit for some of the lowest paid workers in the UK. If you need support with your employees in light of this recent announcement, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@guardianlaw.co.uk.

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