The Supreme Court has recently issued its much anticipated Judgment in the case of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake.

In a long-awaited Judgment regarding the rules of paying workers for ‘sleep-in’ shifts, it has finally been determined that anyone working a ‘sleep-in’ shift – where it is expected that they will sleep through the night unless disturbed to deal with an emergency – is not entitled to have those hours count towards their minimum wage entitlement.

In 2018, the Court of Appeal found that Ms Tomlinson-Blake, who was a care worker, was ‘available for work’ rather than actually working when she was sleeping in a service users’ home providing 24-hour support to the client, therefore she was not entitled to the National Minimum Wage. Ms Tomlinson-Blake was unhappy about this decision believing that each of the hours of the sleep-in shift should be included in the calculation of her entitlement to the NMW and appealed to the Supreme Court who heard her case in February 2020. 

This month, The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal, and concluded that, if the worker is permitted to sleep during the shift, and only required to respond to emergencies, the hours in question are not included in the National Minimum Wage calculation.

If you would like guidance with regards to this ruling or any other related employment law advice, then please contact our specialist team here.

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