Care worker should receive minimum wage for sleepover shifts, Employment Tribunal decides


A senior care assistant who carried out sleepover shifts was entitled to receive the national minimum wage for all her nights shift hours, regardless of whether or not she was actually working during that time, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently decided.

Care worker should receive minimum wage for sleepover shifts, Employment Tribunal decides image 1

The employment tribunal found that the care worker was required to be on the residential care home’s premises throughout the sleepover shift and that she could be required to undertake a variety of duties during the shift. Judges concluded that since the residential care home had a legal obligation to have a person with the respective nurses’ qualifications on site at all times, she was being paid to satisfy this requirement. Her mere presence was therefore enough to constitute working time for national minimum wage purposes.

The case creates a precedent and is quite important for employers in the care sector who have a regulatory or statutory requirement to have qualified persons present during sleepover shifts and who are not currently paying such employees the national minimum wage.

Also of concern for employers is that the government recently increased the financial penalties for employers who fail to pay national minimum wage. With more government proposals in the pipeline to raise penalties for national minimum wage abuse even further, the potential liability for employers could increase dramatically.

Managing employees that work on a rota or shift basis can prove to be a rather challenging task for many employers, and this is specifically where Tensor’s WinTA.NET system can help them save a lot of time and money (including legal expenses for cases such as the one above).

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The system supports comprehensive user-definable Working Patterns, Rosters, and Shifts. By using a Tensor Smart Card and input device (keypad, barcode scanner etc), workers can book time against multi-tiered jobs to produce a fully costed analysis and breakdown of time spent on each job.

WinTA.NET can handle all frequently used methods of calculating employee hours, from simple determination of overtime by the number of daily hours worked, to the more complex payment of overtime hours adjusted when periodic targets are not met.

A number of basic rules control how hours are calculated. These include settings to separate “worked time” into:

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Users can also insert breaks either between set times, and/or after a minimum number of hours have been worked. They can also easily set work patterns, which are a combination of daily rules that are either a repeating pattern of shifts or a list of alternative rules.

Here, WinTA.NET will predict the most appropriate shift depending on the time an employee clocks IN. Each type of pattern can be set up to override the normal pattern and use a specific shift on public holidays or shutdown days.

If you’d like to find out more about the plethora of features and extensive functionality delivered by Tensor’s top-range workforce management solution, just contact us or Book a Demo, we’d be more than happy to answer all of your questions and queries.

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