Should you pay your workers for sleeping on the job?

By Karen Harvie

Two recent cases have rekindled the debate about when time spent at work but sleeping counts as working time for the purposes of the rules on National Minimum Wage. Below, we review these decisions and what they mean for employers.

In Esparon v Slavikovska a care worker successfully claimed that each hour of a sleep-in shift counted towards the time for which she should receive the minimum wage. A key factor that influenced the outcome was that her employers were required to have a suitable person on the premises, to comply with care home regulations.

In Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Ltd, a care worker successfully argued she had been underpaid in respect of sleep-overs. Key factors were that she was required by her contract to sleep-over, an express term of her contract stated that failure to do so would result in disciplinary action and there was evidence that she could not, as the judge put it, ‘slip out for a late-night movie or for fish and chips’. A further feature of the Whittlestone case is the finding that time spent travelling between assignments (Mrs Whittlestone had a number of service users to visit during a day) also counted as working time for minimum wage purposes…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Shoosmiths briefing.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Shoosmiths

View more briefings from Shoosmiths

Analysis from The Lawyer

  • Hester: declined bonus worth almost £1m

    Pay checks

    Compliance and corporate governance codes for large financial institutions will undoubtedly include provisions to regulate high pay in the future

  • high street 150

    Focus: Alternative business structures - Law and new order

    There’s more to the ABS model than attracting the man in the street and procuring external investment. Partners at the big corporate firms, take note…


2 Colmore Square
38 Colmore Circus Queensway
B4 6BJ

Turnover (£m): 92.98
No. of lawyers: 393


  • Training Contract

    Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Northampton, Milton Keynes, London, Reading, Basingstoke, Solent | £ 24,000