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Minimum Wage and 'On Call' Time

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[Thanks to Laura Daniels, pupil at 3 Serjeants' Inn, for preparing this case summary]

The EAT gave its decision in South Manchester Abbeyfield Society v Hopkins & Ors regarding payment for time spent on call.

The Appellants employed the Respondents as housekeepers in sheltered accommodation. The housekeepers were required to spend time on call, during which they were provided with private accommodation to use.

Reversing the decision of the ET, the EAT held that not all of the hours spent on call could be taken into account for the purposes of a claim in contract under the National Minimum Wage Act; under the National Minimum Wage Regulations 15(1A) and 16(1A) the Respondents could only claim for such hours that they were awake for the purpose of working. However, a claim might have existed - were it not outside the limitation period - in respect of statutory compensation for breach of rest-break or maximum working week regulations.

The case was remitted to the ET for a freshly constituted panel to consider how long the Respondents spent awake for the purpose of working, to decide whether a payment was due under the national minimum wage.

The EAT also held that the ET had exceeded its jurisdiction by awarding £25,000 net of tax and NI, as its total jurisdiction was limited to £25,000.