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A Care Worker? You can sleep on the job!

Friday, 06 December 2013, Categories Latest News | Employment News | VP News | Employment Updates

As a care worker are you unclear whether you should be paid for 'sleepovers' or travelling to work? 

The case of Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Limited deals with these questions.

Court's Decision

This recent case serves as a useful warning to employers of care staff. The Claimant in this case was required to work “sleepovers” from 11pm to 7am to provide care for three young adults with Down’s Syndrome, paid at £40 per night. She also spent time travelling between assignments.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) held that even if the Claimant was not actually required to work she was still carrying out “work that is paid for under a worker’s contract” (i.e. £40) under the National Minimum Wage Regulations. Therefore, she was entitled to be paid Minimum Wage for all the time spent on “sleepovers”. This was the case even though the Claimant, on the facts, never actually needed to help service users during these “sleepovers”.

The Claimant was also able to claim for time travelling between work assignments, where legally this is viewed as time ‘at work’ (as opposed to time travelling from home to work and vice versa).

As the Judge notes in this case, applying National Minimum Wage law can be “factually and legally problematic” in a large number of cases, and to avoid litigation like this it is vital to take legal advice as early as possible.

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For more information on our employment services, if you have an employment law enquiry or need assistance, please contact Philip Kay on 01392 344800 or use the enquiry form on the contact us page.

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