The Court of Appeal has recently held that employees are not entitled to the national minimum wage (‘NMW’) for the whole of a sleep-in shift.
It is likely that the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court but if the decision stands it will have significant implications both for care providers and their employees.
Until now there has been considerable confusion about whether care providers had to pay NMW to care workers simply for being available ‘on call’ rather than just for those hours actually spent working.
The typical scenario involves care providers making sleeping facilities (a room or flat) available for the employee who will then sleep unless called upon to work.
The effect of the decision is that the only time that counts for NMW purposes, and thus for which the employee is entitled to be paid, is when he or she is required to be awake to work.
Unless overturned by the Supreme Court, the decision is good news for care providers financially but may be challenging in terms of retention and recruitment of staff who are expecting payment for sleep-ins.