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Working Hours Including Sleepovers

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Hi. The usual apology if this has already been covered or is in the wrong section.

I hope someone can give some clear advice for my wife?


Just to save time and before we go any further everything I’m about to say has been said to my wife's senior staff member and managers. Their answer is that it’s your job and if I don’t like it then leave.


My question is; what hours are legal to work before and after a sleepover, i.e. back to back?


She works in a care home and at least once per week she works 3pm x 10pm then stays overnight to do a sleepover and starts her next shift at 7am x 3pm so this is a total of 24 hours.


To complicate things, until recently she was only expected to get out of bed and help in an emergency, i.e. resuscitation or as an escort to the hospital if one of the residents became ill.

Since the law changed entitling her to be paid minimum wage for a sleepover her boss now expects her to get up and help as a matter of course because she's getting full pay instead of the £30 she did previously.


There are 6 residents and from 10pm there are only two staff plus my wife who is on sleepover.

One of the residents needs 1 to 1 care and so this leaves the other staff member to look after the other 5 residents.

My wife often helps until midnight and then gets to bed about 12.30am. At 2am the 2nd staff member wakes her up to help her attend the 5 residents needs mainly because it is policy/law to have 2 people in attendance when handling them.

She will get back to bed at about 5am and then be back on shift at 7am until 3pm with barely any sleep.

Her job entails handing out drugs for which she is paranoid about making mistakes but she is also absolutely shattered during and after work.


Senior Management have not officially told her, (verbally or in writing), that she is expected to work during her sleep/rest period but her senior staff member relayed a message from "a manager" that she must.


Management have installed installed sensors on the sleepover room and the residents rooms.

1. To prove that the residents are receiving regular checks and that my wife is leaving her room to help out. It lets them record when she left and returned to her room.


So in a nutshell she works 3x10pm

Does a sleepover 10pmx7am but is expected to get out of bed and work for none emergency reasons.

Works another shift 7amx3pm


Is this legal?


Thanks for your help, Andy

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the WTD limits the number of hours that can be worked in any period, be it 24 hrs or a week. Now she can agree to be exempted from the WTD as far as the maximum number of hours goes but no employer may force their employees to do this so how log has seh worked for them? That may determine what they decide to do when told that she is going to stick with the law thank you very much.

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Hi ericsbrother and thanks for the reply.

She has worked for them for about 8 years plus.

Never thought of looking up WTD, thank you.

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There is very specific case law in relation to sleepovers in carers and so on.


The main question is what does she intend to do about it i.e. will she resign/take them to Tribunal?

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Your wife could raise a concern And if it gets serious, she could raise a grievance



She should state that she is not observing enough breaks because she has to assist the other worker She is protected if she asserts a statutory rights

Edited by honeybee13

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There is very specific case law in relation to sleepovers in carers and so on.


The main question is what does she intend to do about it i.e. will she resign/take them to Tribunal?


Thanks for the reply Jas.

We are trying to get all the facts before she can decide which way to go. She actually likes her job so doesn't want to resign or jump out of the frying pan.....

Depending on facts and law then she will go through the proper channels and present her case with facts and law to the

Management. If they then refuse to adhere to any relevant laws then move onto a tribunal but she can't jump the gun.

You have hit the right point though in your answer about specific case law in relation to sleepovers. This is why we are on this forum to ask for anyone's personal experience.

Do you know of a specific case in law of her exact predicament because all I can find is related to minimum wage and not about her being expected to work during her sleepovers in between back to back shifts? I can't find one. Probably the nearest and best thing is WTD which is only clear up to a point.

It states she should have 11 hours rest between shifts, but, like lorry drivers, it may possibly allow that to be reduced X amount of times per week.

Realistically her next port of call is Citizens Advice before moving on but resignation won't solve anything, they'll be delighted to just fill the gap with another body with whom they may sack without reason within 2 years. At the moment she has the security of being there for more than 2 years and to reiterate she actually likes her job. Pointless cutting off her nose to spite her face.

Thanks for your time

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Hi Dondanda.

This sound like a great suggestion, thank you.

She said she will do this officially in writing and hope for a reply. I I said earlier, she has asked them but only verbally so they tend to fob her off.

You are giving her ideas now and making it more clear.

If it's in writing then it's recorded.

At least then she has come back if they still fob her off.


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Hi Jas,

Thanks so much for that.

I've had a a speed read as I'm in the Canaries and it's lashing down haha so time to spare.

I think it pretty much covers minimum wage.

There's no problem at all here. Jo gets paid minimum wage for every hour that she is at work be it a normal working shift or in bed during a sleep in.

I'm specifically trying to get to my wife working a 7hr shift and then a 9 hr sleep in and then straight onto an 8hr shift.

I.e. 24hrs continuous.

She has very recently been told that she will be woken to carry out run of the mill duties during the night. These are none emergency as is what was understood since she started 8 years ago.

They must have two people to handle residents.

One staff member is now on 1 to 1 care so rarely available which just leaves the other to do a two man job and Jo.

Sorry if this not too clear.

There used to be 2 staff to cover all and a sleep in person for emergencies, i.e. if someone was taken to hospital etc then she was rightly woken.

Now she is a cp credit as a matter of course to get up at 2am and help out because the other staff member is virtually out of the equation.

Does this make sense.

To reiterate, this is not about pay. She gets minimum wage regardless. That's not an issue. It looks more to me now about WTD.

Thanks so much for your input.


P.s. if she did 7hrs and then a sleep in then went home it would not be so bad but then she has to do a day shift after very little sleep. 24 hrs on the belt.

She is the expected to hand out drugs and drive the residents to appointments.

She's paranoid of making mistakes especially with the drugs.

Edited by AndyTh

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Sorry yes I was using that to show that time working whilst "sleeping" counts towards the hours of work... I think there are other cases re: WTD as well however will have a look later.

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But it is still a big help and something for me to keep as a reference so thanks so much anyway for your time and effort.

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Then this


The meaning of compensatory rest can be further analysed in the context of the different types of rest that may be lost and that accordingly give rise to an entitlement to compensatory rest:


Weekly rest. A worker is entitled to 24 hours' rest during each seven-day period or 48 hours' rest during each 14-day period, in addition to the daily rest entitlement (regulation 11). If a worker is denied the chance to take a day's rest then the appropriate compensatory rest will presumably be another day's rest in addition to the weekly entitlement.


Daily rest. A worker who does not receive an uninterrupted 11-hour rest period on a particular day (regulation 10(1)) will be entitled to a rest period the following day equal to the statutory entitlement (11 hours) plus the time lost on the previous day. For example, if on Monday a manager is called out for 30 minutes part way through an 11-hour rest period then on Tuesday the employer must allow the manager 30 minutes' compensatory rest in addition to the 11-hour rest period (subject to Jaeger; see Does compensatory rest need to be given immediately?). In practice, this might be meaningless insofar as the manager is likely each day to have at least 12 hours' rest

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Thank you so much

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And from your 1st post it would appear that your wife is not being given sufficient periods of rest, which then brings it back to the fundamental question as to what action she would seek to take about it.

Edited by Andyorch

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Advice by PM is against site rules, JJ. Rule 3.5.



As you may not have read the rules, here's a link.







Illegitimi non carborundum




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I meant professional legal advice from an employment lawyer (thus insured!) rather than merely suggestions on a website however the point is noted

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