Sleep in duty and the minimum wage

A worrying case was published last week concerning whether an employee should be paid the minimum wage where they are required to sleep the night at work. The case in question concerned a care worker who, while she had normal working hours, also had occasional sleep in duty. The reason for this was the employer’s duty to have a certain number of people available to assist during the night if needed. The payment for a sleep in was a lump sum of £25 which fell short of the minimum wage for the hours involved. The reality was that this employee only occasionally had to be woken to assist the waking staff. However it was ruled that where an employee slept at work due to a statutory duty, then the national minimum wage must be paid. This case made clear that a duty to sleep in indicated that the sleep was working time. It is a concern because it is not a huge leap to make the same argument for someone required to sleep in for other reasons, such as security. Employers are advised to review the reasons for having sleep in and the payments made. The case can be read at the following link:http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2014/0217_12_0805.html Back to legal...

High Court decides on enforceability of 12-month non-competition restriction

The High Court has held that a 12-month non-competition post-termination restrictive covenant in an agreement between a financial adviser and his employer was enforceable. Under a “goodwill agreement”, the financial adviser had been paid for the goodwill in the client base he brought with him to the firm, but was prevented from working in any capacity in competition with his employer for 12 months after his employment terminated. The court held that the non-competition restriction was enforceable because the goodwill agreement was akin to a business sale agreement into which the parties had entered with equal bargaining power. It ordered the financial adviser to pay damages for the employer’s loss of profit for two years after his departure. This decision is a good reminder that courts are more likely to enforce post-termination restrictions in business agreements than in employment contracts.(Merlin Financial Consultants Ltd v Cooper [2014] EWHC 1196 (QB)) Back to legal...