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Sleeping on the job - and National Minimum Wage

14 November 2013 #Employment

The Employment Appeal Tribunal in Whittlestone –v- BJP Home Support Ltd  has recently considered whether time spent sleeping on a job and travelling for work should be paid at the National Minimum Wage.

Mrs Whittlestone was a care worker.  For part of her role, she worked a shift from 11pm to 7am which was termed a ‘sleepover’ to provide potential physical care for three young adults suffering from Down’s Syndrome.  She was provided with a camp bed which should could use to sleep overnight, and indeed it appeared that she was never required to provide any actual care during this time.  She claimed that she was entitled to be paid at the National Minimum Wage for the 8 hour sleepover, which was more than the amount she received.

Mrs Whittlestone was also required to travel between service users’ homes during the course of the day.  She also claimed that she was entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage for this time. 

On the facts of the case, the EAT determined that both her time on the ‘sleepover’ and whilst travelling between assignments were work.  For the sleepover, this was evidenced from the fact that during this time she was required to be at the home and that she could not, for instance, “slip out for a late night movie or for fish and chips”. When the EAT considered her travel time, they noted that her employer had arranged the assignments which meant that she had to travel  between one assignment and the next and did not have time to return to her own home during this time.  As a result, Mrs Whittlestone was entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage for all work.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
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