This may not be quite such a stupid question as it sounds! In some jobs you would get sacked for sleeping at work; in others you might get paid.
The question was considered by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in the recent case of Middle West Residential Care Home v Slavikovska . In this case Ms Slavikovska was required to stay at her employer’s premises on some nights. She had a room and a bed and was allowed to sleep through the night, but she had to be available to deal with any emergencies which arose. The EAT had to decide whether she was entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage for all the hours she was at her employer’s premises, or just those when she was actually working.
On the facts of the case, the EAT decided she was entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage for all the hours which she spent at her employer’s premises. The EAT acknowledged that it was sometimes going to be difficult to distinguish these types of cases from situations where the employee was simply on call, but not required to be on the premises. In that situation the employee would only be entitled to the National Minimum Wage for the hours when they were actually working, not those when they were just waiting for a call.
For example, what would the position be with a person who normally resided at their work place, such a caretaker at halls of residence? Each case will depend on its own facts, but one important consideration identified by the EAT was why the employer required the employee’s presence. In the Slavikovska case, Ms Slavikovska was required to be at her employer’s premises in order for the employer to fulfil its obligations under regulations pertaining to care homes which required them to have staff on the premises at all times. This was an important factor in the EAT deciding that Ms Slavikovska was entitled to the National Minimum Wage, even when she was asleep.
We strongly recommend that any employer who operates ‘sleep ins’ takes advice to clarify their position.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).