Royal Mencap Society -v- Tomlinson Blake – Employment Appeals Tribunal

Royal Mencap Society -v- Tomlinson Blake – Employment Appeals Tribunal

The Court of Appeal has provided a welcome decision to owners of residential care homes/supported living accommodation in the case of Royal Mencap Society -v- Tomlinson Blake.

The issue to be determined was the rate of pay to which a worker is entitled, where they are contractually obliged to spend the night at their workplace but to sleep in for all or most of the period, but may be woken up in the event of an incident arising.  The issue in this litigation was whether the whole period spent on the premises under such arrangements must be taken into account for the purposes of determining an employee’s entitlement to pay under the National Minimum Wages Regulations.  The Employment Appeals Tribunal had ruled in favour of the employees, leading to an appeal by the employer.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal upheld the appeal, determining that workers who sleep in are to be characterised for the purpose of the NMW Regulations as available for work, rather than actually working, and so fall within the terms of the sleep-in exception within the NMW Regulations.  This means that the only time that counts for NMW purposes is time when the worker is required to be awake for the purposes of working.

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