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EAT confirms you can't work while you sleep

Mr Shannon must have hoped that he'd discovered an extremely lucrative loophole in the National Minimum Wage Regulations. He argued that he should be paid the minimum wage for time he spent asleep while on-call overnight. Unfortunately for Mr Shannon, the Employment Appeal Tribunal disagreed. The finding is not surprising, but the case does raise a serious point about the extent to which employees who are on-call are actually working. Mr Shannon was only entitled to be paid for periods when he was carrying out his duties, and not for the rest of the on-call time. This decision will be of particular relief to care providers, who often rely on these overnight on-call workers to provide effective 24 hour care to their service users.

In the original case, the claimant argued that he should be paid in arrears for the full nightly hours spent on call since the national minimum wage came into effect in April 1999. The claim was for £239,490.The Employment Tribunal (ET) ruled that he was not working through the night shift and should therefore only be paid for the times at which he was called upon to assist the night care worker. His payment already amounted to the national minimum wage for those periods so the claim was dismissed.”