When “on call” duties should be paid as “time worked”

A recent employment tribunal has made an interesting finding for a number of Claimants who worked at a caravan site and who were expected to be on-call after their shifts (which finished at between 4.30pm and 8pm) until 8am the following morning. The Claimants argued that whilst on-call they were actually working and were therefore entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage for the full night. They were not expected to sleep on the premises but were expected to be available for “on call”.

The Judge’s finding was that between the end of their shift and 10pm the Claimants were working because their responsibilities included showing round prospective customers and welcoming late arrivals. They were therefore entitled to be paid the NMW for that period.

The Claimants were not, however, required to carry out that work after 10pm, unless they were called out for an emergency for which they were paid. After 10pm, they were therefore not regarded as actually working unless called out and were not entitled to be paid whilst merely on-call. This is useful clarification on an otherwise complex area of working time and pay!

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