Kate Brooks
Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services
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Date Published:10 Mar 2016 Last Updated:23 Jun 2021

Workers on sleeping night shifts are entitled to National Minimum Wage

Employment Law Advice

Please see our follow up article: Sleep in Workers & National Minimum Wage: 5 Steps to Take

In a Judgment dated 8th May 2014 the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) have ruled that workers are entitled to be paid national minimum wage (currently £6.50 – updated 14.04.15) for sleeping hours when there is a requirement for the worker to be present.

The case involved a senior care worker employed at a care home for residents with learning difficulties. The carer worked during the day. In addition she worked a sleep in shift from 9pm to 7am for which she was paid £25, meaning that she was paid £2.50 per hour.

The carer’s case was that she was entitled to be paid national minimum wage for the time spent at the employer’s premises. The carer succeeded and was awarded over £15,000 for failure to pay minimum wage.

The EAT found that a fundamental consideration when determining entitlement to national minim wage was why the employer required the worker to be on the premises. In this case it was to satisfy a legal requirement that a suitable person be present “just in case”. Even if the worker does nothing, they are being paid to simply be there and are therefore deemed to be working whether or not work is actually carried out.

This will have a huge impact on night workers as it will mean that for example in care homes those carers who sleep in will have the right to be paid national minimum wage for all hours spent sleeping.

The full EAT judgment in this case can be found here.

Please follow this link for current rates for national minimum wage.

If you require any information about the contents of this blog or national minimum wage please contact me at kate.brooks@ellisjones.co.uk.