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Working while asleep

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The EAT has held, in Anderson v Jarvis Hotels, that a hotel night manager was entitled to be paid for work even when fast asleep.

The manager brought a claim for unpaid contractual wages (note: not under the Working Time Regulations) in respect of a nine month period when he was required to sleep at the hotel overnight. His presence was required in case of emergency (such as fire or flood), and in the nine months, he had only ever been required to work on one occasion (to deal with rowdy guests). On one other occasion he had left the hotel for half an hour, between 3.30am and 4am, and had received a verbal warning as a result.

The hotel argued that 'on call' time, where the risk of actually being required to do something was insignificant, should not be regarded as working time for the purpose of being paid under the contract of employment.

The EAT disagreed, overturning the employment tribunal. It held that time during which the manager was contractually obliged to be present at the hotel was plainly working time, and he was entitled to be paid in respect of it.

Anderson v Jarvis Hotels