FM firms should review the status of sleep-in workers to mitigate the risks of legal challenges over the right to minimum wage, according to a white paper by a legal advisory consultancy.
The document, Sleep-ins and the Minimum National Wage, published by International Workplace, examines the issues around pay for workers doing ‘sleepover’ shifts, in the light of recent court cases.
Some areas of work require an on-site presence around the clock, although the person may not be actively working throughout that time – for example, a person who may sleep on the premises to be present to respond to an emergency.
Current legislation says their presence does not require national minimum wage if they are not available and awake for the purposes of working. However, challenges have been made, including on the basis of the worker needing to be present at a location away from home when ‘on call’.
The report says that FM companies should review the status of any ‘sleepover’ workers to “see if there is a risk that can be mitigated against should a challenge come from employees or if the Supreme Court goes against the ruling of the High Court, which is entirely feasible”.
It says FM companies should assess the impact on budgets if the national minimum wage had to be paid. The report contains recent case law examples and a checklist of measures to mitigate against risks.
“Understanding your areas of risk now will allow you the opportunity to reduce or eliminate them, rather than face a potential costly and, due to the nature of case law, reputational, challenge,” adds the report.
The paper was produced in association with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) UK chapter.