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paid for sleeping on the job?

2 May 2017

Are workers entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage when on-call or sleeping at work? The answer is, it depends.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal ('EAT') has concluded, after considering three previous tribunal decisions, that the key question is whether a worker is actually working by being present at the workplace when they are permitted to sleep.

The EAT identified four potentially relevant factors to this issue:

  1. the employer’s purpose in engaging the worker and what might the worker be expected or required to do
  2. how far the worker’s activities are restricted by the requirement to be present and be at the disposal of the employer
  3. the degree of responsibility the worker undertakes
  4. the immediacy of the requirement to provide services if something untoward occurs or an emergency arise.

Considering these four factors will help a tribunal to properly assess the facts of an individual case. 

If the worker is found to be actually working, they would be entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage. Each case will turn on its own particular facts but the above four points are a useful guide for employers.

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