Sleep-in shifts and the national minimum wage

11 February 2019

HMRC has published a new bite-sized webinar which outlines different scenarios to help determine if the minimum wage is applicable to some or all hours worked during a sleep-in shift.

Guidance on calculating the minimum wage was updated in November 2018 to reflect the joined employment law cases of Mencap v Tomlinson-Blake and Shannon v Rampersad with regard to sleep-in shifts.

In some sectors – including, but not only, the care sector – workers are required to stay at or near their workplace on the basis that they are expected to sleep for all or most of the period, but may be woken when required to undertake work. Such shifts normally occur at night, but could occur during the day.  If the employer provides suitable facilities for sleeping, minimum wage must be paid for time when the worker is required to be awake for the purpose of working, but not for time the worker is permitted to sleep.  However, if suitable sleeping facilities are not provided then minimum wage must be paid for the entire shift.

The position is different where workers are working and not expected to sleep for all or most of a shift, even if there are occasions when they are permitted to sleep (such as when not busy).  In this case it is likely minimum wage must be paid for the whole of the shift on the basis that the worker is in effect working all of that time, including for the time spent asleep.

Each case may be different depending on all of its individual circumstances, including what the contract provides and what is happening in practice.

If you are unsure about the arrangements you have in relation to the National Minimum Wage you can contact the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Watch HMRC’s new bite-sized webinar on sleep-in shifts and the national minimum wage.


CIPP Payroll training course

The CIPP offer a one-day training course on National Minimum Wage and other worker entitlements. Visit the training course area of our website for full details.