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Posted 8 August 2014
by Martin Laver

Do on call workers, who are not at their workplace, still need to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage?

There has been much case law over recent years about when on call workers are entitled to be paid. The Scottish EAT has now added to the vast amount of case law on the matter, by hearing the case of; Truslove and another v Scottish Ambulance Service. Truslove confirms the current position, which is that where a worker is required to remain at the workplace and available for work with a view to providing their services at some point, this will amount to working-time and not a rest period. This is the case even if the worker is allowed to sleep and so the worker is entitled to be paid for their time.

In Truslove, the employees were paramedics and the employer required staff to work at different stations from their normal, daily station. The employer set response targets for staff of three minutes and employees were able to stay at alternative accommodation. The question for the EAT was this; were the paramedics entitled to be paid, at least the National Minimum Wage, for their time spent on call within the three mile radius?

The answer was yes. The reason for this was that the employer had control over the employees, as they had to stay within the three minute radius, even though the paramedics were not at the workplace.

This case will impact employers in situations where recruitment of on call staff is commonplace, for instance in the holiday, hospitality and care industries, as the effect of this case undoubtedly extends the case law from instances where workers are entitled to be paid whilst they are at the workplace, to where they are not, provided the employer still has control over them.

For further advice, contact the Tozers employment law team on 01392 207020 or email

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About the author

Martin Laver

Partner

Partner in the commercial litigation team specialising in disputed trusts and Wills