24/7 work culture a challenge for employers to comply with minimum wage
17 August 2018
Employers may need to mitigate the risk of claims from employees who have routinely been working additional hours via their mobile devices outside of their normal working day.
Personnel Today has highlighted a case in Ireland which saw a business executive awarded €7,500 after she argued she was required to deal with out-of-hours work emails, some of which were after midnight. This led to the individual working in excess of the maximum 48 hours a week set out in Ireland’s Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.
According to Will Steed, associate in the employment team at Hill Dickinson, similar cases are likely to come before the UK courts before too long and, he says, the impact of decisions could be significant. This is because they “could open the floodgates to a raft of claims from employees who have routinely been working additional hours via their mobile devices outside of their normal working day. Now is, therefore, the time for employers to think about what practical steps they can take to mitigate this risk. For some employers, this will require a cultural shift away from expecting the 24/7 connection with employees that technology has made possible.”
The Policy team held a Think Tank roundtable in May with the Low Pay Commission (LPC) where CIPP members were invited to share their views and experiences and to discuss the issues that exist around the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW).
The subject of the types of work that can trip up employers was raised specifically unmeasured work. This is potentially a really big issue as many contracts do not include the obligation to track hours, particularly for salaried employees. How would an employer prove that they have complied with minimum wage regulation over a year in this type of situation?
We look forward with interest to the publication of the LPC’s annual review, which this year looked at more than just the levels of the National Minimum and Living Wage rates. Also included is both the potential impact of a premium/higher minimum wage for those hours that are not 'guaranteed', as well as alternative means for tackling the issue of ‘one-sided flexibility’, where some workers experience uncertain and unpredictable work schedules. Evidence will also be incorporated from the visits to individual organisations around the country and the various roundtable meetings such as the aforementioned with the CIPP.