In the case of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake, the Supreme Court has ruled that sleep-in workers are only eligible for National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the hours they are actually working.
This case involves care workers who were required to sleep at, or near, their place of work and be available to work during the night if required to do so. The Court has ruled that under the NMW Regulations, the workers are only entitled to NMW for the hours they work, not the hours they are asleep (regardless of how many times they are called upon during the night). This means that if they are called upon and need to work, they will be paid for the work they do only. It doesn’t matter if the workers are at their employer’s direction, or required to follow their instructions, they will only be paid for actual time and hours worked. Any time asleep cannot be counted as time working. The Court said there is a distinction between ‘working’ and being ‘available for work’ and if you are just ‘available for work’ you are not ‘working’.
This will be a relief for care providers, but care workers are likely to be disappointed as they can no longer claim that they should be paid NMW for the entirety of their sleep-in shifts.
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