Sleep-ins and the National Minimum Wage

Recent case law has established that “sleep-ins” are covered by the National Minimum Wage (NMW) regulations.  So even if a worker is allowed to sleep at work, if they are required to stay at their workplace, then all their hours are covered by NMW regulations.

This means if any worker is paid – on average – less than the National Minimum Wage over their pay reference period* they will be entitled to a pay rise.  They may also be entitled to back pay but because working patterns vary enormously between individuals; this will need to be done on a case-by-case basis.

This issue will particularly affect our low paid members in the private or community and voluntary sector who do regular sleep-ins.  Members who are paid significantly above the NMW and who do sleep-ins are unlikely to be affected, because their pay will not to fall below the NMW on average over the pay reference period.

This will also affect personal assistants, whom UNISON has started to organise in two pilot projects, and have a wider citizenship impact on members, including disabled members, who either employ personal assistants for sleep-ins or pay for such care out of a personal budget.

This does not affect workers who are ‘on-call’ and are not required to be near their workplace.  It also does not mean that sleep-ins have to be paid at the NMW level, but just that, overall, total pay for total hours worked must be at least the NMW.


  • Worker A is paid weekly.
  • They work 30 hours a week at £ 7 / hour
  • They also do two sleep-ins of 10 hours each, each of which is paid at £30.
  • Overall, they have worked 50 hours, and have been paid £270.
  • Their average hourly pay is £5.40 an hour, which is less than the NMW.
  • So they are entitled to a pay rise to at least the NMW level overall, and possibly back pay.
  • Worker B is paid weekly.
  • They work 30 hours a week at £ 8 / hour
  • They also do one sleep-in of 10 hours, for which they are paid £30.
  • Overall, they have worked 40 hours, and have been paid £270.
  • Their average hourly pay is £6.75 an hour, which is more than the NMW.
  • So they are NOT entitled to a pay rise, under NMW regulations.

*The pay reference period is the time over which the worker is usually paid – usually monthly or weekly.

Relevant case law:

Esparon T/A Middle West Residential Care Home v Slavikovska UKEAT/0217/12/DA;  Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Limited UKEAT/0128/13/BA

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OIWF 2017 – Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union

Oxford International Women’s Festival

Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union – County Hall Friday 10th March 2017

Venue: County Hall, New rd, OX1 1ND. Free | All welcome | Wheelchair    access    Reflections    from   Professor Elizabeth Anionwu’s memoirs. Elizabeth was born in Birmingham of Irish/Nigerian heritage. Her white unmarried mother had been a student at Cambridge University. Elizabeth spent nine years in Catholic children’s homes. How did she succeed in  life?  For more information: Speaker: Elizabeth Anionwu. Organiser: Debbie Hollingsworth, Unison Oxfordshire County Branch. Contact: 07812 350892 Booking preferred. Email or phone by 9th March.

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There are major changes planned for Oxfordshire some or all you may be aware of.  Oxfordshire County Council in partnership with South Oxfordshire and Vale Of The White Horse have submitted their plans for a unitary authority in what is being called One Oxfordshire.  There have already been other proposals submitted prior to this by the local and district councils. Each is asserting that their plans will bring the best level of services and provisions for Oxfordshire with the money that is available for government spending.  UNISON will be examining the proposals in depth and we will be feeding back to you as things develop.

You can read OCC/South & Vale’s draft proposals here and there is an online feedback survey here (This is an external site and none of your details will be provided to any of the Local Authorities).  These sorts of summaries are often difficult to understand and interpret into what it will actually mean for you so it is crucial that if you have questions that you ask them until you get a response.  We can help you do that if you let us know what they are.

It is important to stress that these and other options are proposals at this stage and require consultation and approval from a number of parties including yourselves.  UNISON Oxfordshire County are not supporting or opposing any of the plans whilst they are in consultation phases but we need to make sure that they are shaped in a way that is best for our members and the people of Oxfordshire so that when they come back as fuller and more comprehensive plans they already contain as much of the work we are doing and best practice and examples from across the county.  For this we need your opinions, concerns and overall responses, this will allow us to represent them wherever and whenever we can.  The proposals will affect not just those working for the councils at every level but also every resident of Oxfordshire so it is vital that as diverse a set of opinions are canvassed as possible.

UNISON Oxfordshire County will continue to work with all authorities to ensure that members are represented and supported and that the core trade union values are upheld with whichever direction Oxfordshire governance takes.  For this we need your input, if you have questions we are happy to answer them where possible or to raise them on your behalf with who can best answer them.

This is YOUR county and YOUR councils so make sure YOUR voice is heard.

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Oxfordshire County UNISON Annual General Meeting 2017

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£50 Winter Fuel Grants For Members

HandsGet help staying warm this winter.  With rising fuel costs and another cold winter many members are worried about how they’re going to pay this year’s winter fuel bills – Help is at hand

“There for You” has set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income by way of a one-off payment of up to £50

To apply download the application form : Winter Fuel Grant Application or simply contact your local UNISON branch office or UNISON Direct 0800 0857 857. For further information visit the There For You website.

To be considered for a grant, you must be able to show that you meet the following criteria:

 You are in receipt of housing benefit

 Your household net income is less than £18,000
 Neither you/your partner have savings in excess of £800 (including rolling bank balance)
 You have not received a grant from UNISON There for you in the last 6 months.
 You must have paid a minimum of 4 weeks subscriptions before 1st December 2016
Your application must be received no later than 17 February 2017 Applications will then

2017, Branch news, campaigns, Community, Disabled Members, Further Education, Local Government, Low Paid Members, Membership benefits, Private & Voluntary Sector, Schools, UNISON, UNISON National, Women Members, Young Members , , , , ,