Is Sleeping Time Working Time?

17 February 2016

You will no doubt be familiar with the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Regulations and the fact that these prescribe the legal minimums that workers can be paid each hour. But what about the time when employees are on call? Do they need to be paid the NMW even when they are asleep?

Recent case law has held that the answer is ‘no’ – not necessarily. In cases where an employee is provided with suitable facilities for sleeping at or near work there is an exemption to the NMW Regs. This exemption states that during the time an employee is permitted to sleep, the only hours that are to be counted under the NMW Regs are those where the employee is “awake for the purpose of working”.

While each situation will be viewed on a case by case basis, so it is imperative to seek tailored advice, this case law offers reassurance to employers. Under these circumstances, employees will only be due the national minimum wage for hours where they are actually working.

At Alpha, we have a vast experience in providing bespoke advice on employment and HR issues and how these affect your business. We offer a commercial outlook and do not sit on the fence. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.

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