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British Nursing Association v Inland Revenue

[2002] IRLR 480

Case summary last updated at 19/02/2020 20:13 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case British Nursing Association v Inland Revenue

Concerned workers who operated a telephone booking service for a nurse agency. During the day the service was conducted from the employer’s premises, but the night shift worked from their homes. The calls were diverted to the night “duty nurse” who would take the call and book the nurse. The workers were paid an amount per shift. The employers considered that the staff were not working when they were not actually answering the phone and therefore not entitled to the minimum wage during these periods. CA held that an employee who operated a night-time telephone service from home is doing “time work” when waiting to answer a phone at their own home.
Buxton LJ: If the nurses are at the office during the day, the nurses are obviously working, even when not on the phone (employer doesn’t dispute this). Why should this be different when they’re at home? The whole point of the arrangement was as a continuation of the day service, so that the definition of time spent ‘working’ remains the same. Reg 15 of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 does, it’s true, distinguish between situations where the worker is at home and where he is at/near to work. However this regulation deals with being ‘on call’ and not, as here, where P is actually working. 

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