In the latest Penningtons Manches survey on topical employment issues, 59% of respondents agreed that employees should be paid for the time when they are not actively carrying out duties but can read, watch TV or sleep. The victorious exponent of the case for paying employees was partner Tom Walker, who argued that, on the basis that wages are compensation 'for the stress, effort and inconvenience that a job places on someone', an employee should receive pay for the disadvantages to their life imposed by their employer.
Daff Richardson disagreed that workers should be paid to sleep and that the imposition of this requirement would lead to the provision of inferior public services to those unlucky enough to need them in an emergency. She also argued that the additional cost of paying workers to sleep on the job could affect the viability of care home and emergency services where funding is already tight. Although the majority of respondents disagreed with her, more than two thirds (67%) thought that workers should only be paid the National Minimum Wage when asleep rather than full pay.
While 81% of respondents agreed that, if workers are not to be paid when sleeping, any ruling should apply to the House of Lords, it is unlikely that peers will be losing any sleep over this result.
The full ‘head to head’ arguments can be viewed by clicking here.