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Sleeping on the JobUpdated May 2021.

We examine the latest position on whether you should be paid for sleeping while at work, and look at the most important, and recent, tribunal cases here which include:

  • In 2012 an important case at the Employment Appeals Tribunal confirmed what previous case law had described: during a sleeping night-shift, only the hours spent awake and working will count towards a workers national minimum wage.
  • At the end of 2013, an important case went to the EAT – Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Ltd – that confirmed employees who are engaged on ‘time work’*, and who are required to ‘sleep over’ at a specified location as part of their work, are entitled to be paid the NMW for all hours they have slept-over. This is regardless of whether their sleep is interrupted by work or not.
  • In October 2015 – Shannon v Rampersad (t/a Clifton House Residential Home) – Shannon worked on-call in a care home at night, but was allowed to sleep during those hours (responding to any requests for assistance by a night care worker on duty, which was very rare) and received free accommodation in a studio flat in the care home. He was paid the NMW for the times when he did work.The EAT found that although he was required to be on site and was allowed to sleep in a studio that was his home, he rarely had to respond to calls to work as there was an ‘on duty night worker’ present. The EAT held that only at those time when he was awake for the purposes of working counted as paid working hours.
  • However, on 19th March 2021 the Supreme Court ruled in the combined cases of Mencap vs Tomlinson-Blake and Shanndon v Rampersad that that workers who provided sleep-in cover should only be paid at the appropriate NMW rate for every hour they were actually awake for the purposes of working. Full details are in the link at the top.
  • In April 2021 the Government updated its guidance on calculating the National Minimum Wage following the Mencap Supreme Court decision, and you can see it here.