Lawyers are advising charities that run residential homes to check how much they are paying employees who stay overnight or remain on call after a recent judgement by the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
The tribunal ruled that a care centre manager who had to remain on call and within a three-minute radius of the site after her shift ended at 6.30pm was entitled to the minimum wage of £5.05 an hour until her shift recommenced at 8.30am the next day. This was judged to be the case even if the manager was asleep and rarely required to work during that time.
"The employer is imposing limits on what the employee can do," said Petra Venton, a lawyer in the charities team at Cripps Harries Hall LLP, about the judgement.
Venton advised that the ruling could have consequences for all those charities that employ staff on a similar basis.
"A lot of organisations have workers staying overnight," she said. "Employers need to look at how much they are paying employees and if the employees are getting the right number of breaks."
Venton also pointed out that the minimum wage will rise from £5.05 to £5.35 an hour from next month.