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Focus Care Agency v Mr B Roberts: UKEAT/0143/16/DM

Posted In: Case Law
  • Case Reference
    UKEAT/0143/16/DM
  • Legal Body
    Employment Appeal Tribunal (UKEAT)
  • Type of Claim / Jurisdiction
Issues covered: On-call; Sleepovers

Scott: The Focus Care Agency v Roberts case is about on-call and sleepovers. Very expensive case, this, for some people in the care industry. So tell us about that.

Mark: Yeah. The whole notion of someone who has sleepover responsibility, especially in the private independent healthcare sector where a great deal of the focus has been on here because of the financial ramifications, the cases and the subject matter of someone being on-site on-call has been rumbling on for years.

Now, for the first time in the Focus case, the courts have started to really grasp the nettle and say, "Look. There is a multi-factorial approach that needs to be taken here," and the clear direction of travel is if the multi-factorial approaches are met by the individual, then for all of the time that they're on-site on-call, even if they're asleep, they're entitled to the national minimum wage.

For example, organisations like Mencap have said, "Look. The back-pay provision for this alone is going to cost £400 million." The government have set up a scheme to allow employers to absorb the economic impact. This is up for an appeal in March, but there seems to be a clear pattern of thought that the appeal is not going to be successful.

Scott: Working time is working time. We had a case this week where the courts have determined that you need a 20-minute break, a full 20-minute break.

Mark: Yes, not an aggregated 20 minutes.

Scott: No.

Mark: That's right.

Scott: If you're off on a shift and you get four five-minute breaks, that's not compatible with working time rules. So those breaks, the annual leave, everything is driving towards these being immutable rights for workers.

Mark: And the European courts have gone really back to basics, especially in areas such as holiday pay. If you're a worker, you're entitled to be paid holidays. That means being away from work and getting the pay that you'd be entitled to including overtime, etc., and there is a provision for pay to carry over. The European courts seem to be going really back to basics, giving it a very literal interpretation of what the working time regulations say.

Scott: And that sleepover case is very much the same.

Mark: Absolutely.

Scott: It's just going in that same direction.

Mark: Yeah.

This article is correct at 11/01/2018
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Mark McAllister
Labour Relations Agency

The main content of this article was provided by Mark McAllister. Contact telephone number is 028 9033 7403 or email Mark.McAllister@lra.org.uk

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