View Full Version : Sleep Time

23-04-2011, 10:20 PM
Recently the firm I work for had a job which would have been better completed over a few nights. To cut a long story short, 3 of us had previously worked for refrigeration firms that had some kind of sleep time arrangement.
This firm is mainly an AC setup so the situation hadn't been encountered before. The boss threw a wobbler and said we could work at night, but if we felt too knackered to go in the next day then no problem but we wouldn't get the days pay for it. In effect that means working at night for no financial enhancement - so we didn't and the job took 6 times as long.

We also do a call out and the time will come when the call out happens in the small hours so this will rear its head again.

I've looked into the situation but can't find any info as to the legal ins and outs, time between shifts etc if anyone could point me in the right direction.
We're contracted to work 8:30-5:00.

Many thanks,


monkey spanners
23-04-2011, 10:54 PM
Think we used to get double time and a day off at the end of the night shift to get used to days again, when doing nights fitting ac for a supermarket chain.

23-04-2011, 11:06 PM
Matbe this will provide some legal pointers for you...assuming that you work in the UK, 'cos being in the doghouse doesn't tell which set of rules might apply.


23-04-2011, 11:15 PM
being in the dog house dose restrict which answer you get , but all one can say is = you know what to do next time you are ofered nite work again = stick it . or talk about it first sedgy,

23-04-2011, 11:21 PM
Hi Brian,

Yes the doghouse is in England. Keep meaning to sort that out.
I've seen the website but it seem to be aimed more for shift workers where the sleep time or time between shifts are concerned.
Can't find where a contracted hours fits in to all this.

Thanks for the prompt replies though,


install monkey
24-04-2011, 08:47 AM
it varies from company to company-no one ever tells u about the rates and entitlements till youve done a full week,totally knackered-then u get paid basic!!!!-u need sleep time afterwards to adjust-also doing nights you can work 12-14 hrs in a night so bear this in mind when u enter the boardroom!-take ur boss out on a night job so he can appreciate the situation.

24-04-2011, 11:49 AM
unofficially we get time and a half plus the normal day rate for our rest periods, if called out on standby we get 1 hour back paid for every hour we work past midnight as a rest period

24-04-2011, 08:50 PM
Bear in mind that there should be an 11 hour break between working periods.

Did you have a look at the other pages ?

24-04-2011, 10:17 PM
Hi Brian,

I've had a good look there and on other sites. Money Saving Expert of all places mentioned something like the 11hr between shifts was part of the working time regulation but somehow this didn't make it the law. I think the subject is a bit of a minefield really.

What I've had trouble finding out is the set of rules which apply to contracted hours as the info only mentions shifts. I supect that seeing as I'm contracted to work 8:30-5:00, if I can't work those hours for the mentioned reasons, then I'd still get paid for them.



the man
29-09-2011, 03:00 AM

I have also had problems finding out the rules for sleep time etc and eventually realised I would have to do the research myself. After many hours I now understand whats going on.

The UK government does not like the working time directive or the UK version WTR which is based on the WTD. As such there is no point looking at a governemnt site as they put their own spin on the regs.

For example the governement site says that callout / standby is not worked time. Yet in most cases it is. The governemnt just ignore this because of the implications if they accept it for example in the NHS. Imagine if all callout / standby counted as worked time. Doctors and nurses would very quickly reach the 48 hour max working week without doing anything.

When people go to an industrail tribunal the courts usually find that callout / stand by is worked time even if you are a sleep!!

Personally if I am held prisoner in my house unable to go to the cinema, shopping or sleepover at a friends then I consider myself to be working and so do the courts.

The WTD / WTR say you must have 11 continious hours rest break per 24 hour period so it follows that the max number of hours you can work in a day is 13. There are exceptions.

I have considered pushing some of these issues at work however when I consider what management would have to do to defend their position I think I would end up worse of. This is posibley the case for most people.

Regarding paymenst for working nights out of hours etc I believe all a company has to do is pay the minimum wage for the hours you work. If the company were to deduct money when you slept in the following day then as long as your wage was above the minimum for the hours worked then they will be in the clear. That said a lot depends on what your contract of employment says.

Much of the WTD / WTR/ the law is about rest periods not money payments. Your employer is allowing you to rest when you sleep in the next day he is just not paying you to sleep in.

In the circumstances I think you did the right thing not working nights. Perhaps if the job took six times as long then next time your employer will see his mistake and pay you to sleep in.

When you are on call are you allowed to go shopping, to the match etc? If not and you have to sit in the house waiting for a call and respond almost immediately then all that time is worked time and by 10pmish you could be thinking of telling your employer that you you have finished for the day so you can have your 11 hour rest period per the law.

Don't expect him to be happy with that or even be aware of it. Depending on how you are paid you may be happy to sit in the house.


It's all a bit of a minefield with no universally accepted answers. Even when a number of court cases have been won setting precedents it's still been left for the people to fight their corner case by case. I wouldn't advise anyone to take on such a fight

the man
29-09-2011, 03:08 AM
the 11 hour break between shifts made it into law its just ignored by everyone.

I would say if you are contracted to work 8:30-5:00 then those are the hours you work and anything outside of that is a local / private agreement.

If you cannot work 8:30-5:00 then you are breaking your contract. Your employer cannot make you work different hours.

I would have thought your contract would not be so precise and that their would be provison for you working different hours in it. Have you actually got a copy?

30-09-2011, 11:41 PM
Here is the "law" as apertains night working. An employer cannot just expect or ask an employee to work nights as this is statutorily controlled.


Ask yourself, Are you a night worker? The law says :

Night time in relation to a worker means a period:

(a) the duration of which is not less than 7 hours; and

(b) which includes the period between midnight and 5am,

which is determined for the purposes of the Regulations by a relevant agreement or, in the absence of such an agreement, the period between 11pm and 6am.

(So if there is no agreement, ie: contract, then the period between 11pm and 6 am would constitute night working and be governed ny the regulation)

Night worker means a worker:

(i) who as a normal course works at least three hours of his daily working time during night time (for the purpose of this definition, it is stated in the Regulations that a person works hours 'as a normal course' if he works such hours on a majority of days on which he works – a person who performs night work as part of a rotating shift pattern may also be covered); or

(ii) who is likely during night time to work at least such proportion of his annual working time as may be specified for the purposes of the Regulations in a collective or workforce agreement.


The Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833), reg 6 then goes on to provide that an employer shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that the normal working hours of a night worker do not exceed an average of 8 hours in any 24-hour period.

If the night work involves 'special hazards or heavy physical or mental strain', then a strict eight-hour time limit is imposed on working time in each 24-hour period and no averaging is allowed over a reference period. The identification of night work with such characteristics is by means of either a collective or workforce agreement which takes account of the specific effects and hazards of night work, or by the risk assessment which all employers are required to carry out under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3242).

An employer must, before assigning a worker to night work, provide him with the opportunity to have a free health assessment. [Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833), reg 7]. The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether the worker is fit to undertake the night work. While there is no reliable evidence as to any specific health factor which rules out night work, a number of medical conditions could arise or could be made worse by working at night, such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions or gastric intestinal disorders.

Employers are under a further duty to ensure that each night worker has the opportunity to have such health assessments 'at regular intervals of whatever duration may be appropriate in his case'. [Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833), reg 7(1)(b)].

01-10-2011, 08:42 AM

Having started a new job last month also had a problem with working times, I leave home (milton keynes) 5:30 to hit the London West End for 7:00 (miss the traffic) and have been leaving site by 15:30 to ensure am home for under 12 hours door to door. Thursday I got a breakdown at 14:30 which by time I completed and left for home was 17:00, so I rang the office told them my eta for home was 19:00 and I will not be leaving early the next day, probaly about 7:00....I was met with your time on site is 8:00-17:00....so I hit them with working time directive, which they did not like so I turned it to health & safety & asked them what do they prefer, me to give them 12 good hours service a day or 14+ hours and end up killed in a road traffic accident or electrocute myself at work the next day because I dont have my witts about me & make a silly misstake due to being too tired to drive/work....I explained to them they have a duty of care to ensure my safety and I am clearly informing them that I require my 11 hours unbroken rest period and aim for 12 to ensure 11....they still tried it on so I followed it up in email...the call handlers then re-arranged my work the next day to local work & one of the directors kindly turned up & bought breakfast

From your posts I take it you are an asset to your company and all the rules/regs aside you need to approach with your boss your rest/sleep/bath/dinner needs and the fact that you will do him a 'favour' and help out with late/night working as long as you recieve your standard 8 hours pay even if you are unable to work it due to doing them a favour....if they are not happy with that, then how can they ask you to work unsocialable hours without any benefit

Your boss needs to be fully aware of duty of care & corperate manslaughter, which if you word a polite email correctly will mean they will be jailed if your killed due to forcing you to work/drive when too tired to do so....I have had to address this with a few companies and have not come across any manager/director yet, who is willing to risk a jail term to get a job done ! Fools are not normaly successful in business and they will see the implications without you stating 'your end in jail'

They obviously dont like it as they all want 24/7 robots but its tuff, you need adequate rest to be not only available to earn them money but also to be there and provide for your family, which obviously can not be done if your dead. Take a long hard look mate at the affects both financialy and emotionaly on your family should the worse case scenario happen and I think you will not be working silly hours again

This may seem a little melodramatic at first but you & your boss need to both be aware it is a reality that you could be killed if you dont recieve adequate rest

Sorry this does not give you any concrete law to help you, as the service industry is a grey area under the working time directive and as 'Abe' stated you are in breach of contract not working your contracted hours but you can use duty of care/health & safety and if your boss is not happy to meet a reasonable compromise, its time to find a company that will value your service without putting you seriously at risk

You only work to live...not live to work & need a reasonable work life balance and it is also a fact those who work long hard hours live shorter lives

If you decide to email your boss and want to draft your side/facts but would like it reworded to read polite but still get your side across, drop me a pm for my email and I would be happy to assist, which you can then edit again adding/removing what suits

R's chillerman

install monkey
01-10-2011, 08:52 AM
i just work till i drop,haha

01-10-2011, 09:05 AM
i just work till i drop,haha

So what your saying 'Install' is you drive home with your head dropping and struggling to keep your eyes open ?

And dont try to say you dont, we have all worked too many hours and have been struggling to stay awake on the drive home........it only takes a micro nap/sleep and your dead !

Risking your families quality of life, risking them being left traumatised, risking killing yourself and risking killing other innocent motorists

Money is not everything mate and ask yourself what sort of affect you being seriously injured or killed would have on 'no 1 daughter' or 'no 1 son' or your mrs........am sure they would prefer to keep you and have luxuries reduced slightly than loose you now or push you around in a wheel chair.

Reality check mate ! You may think your doing the right thing but the risks are toooo high

R's chillerman

install monkey
01-10-2011, 09:19 AM
me tracker doesnt show up power naps-and currently im snorting kenco millicana coffee-that puts hairs on ur chest.
you are your own judge of when ur knackered,we all push ourselves to the limit sometimes and having an easy next day helps,plenty of breaks help too,also dont fool urself supping energy drinks as it will catch up with u.
also ive not done a 29,32 hr day with a 7 hr break for 2 mths haha

01-10-2011, 09:36 AM

I hope you are getting enough rest mate & as you have said energy drinks dont help indefinately

There comes a point when they can no longer keep you alert, which I have experienced and for you to be aware of this you have crossed the line of being at risk also

Its always better to learn from others misstakes

I have hit a central reservation barrier on a motorway whilst micro napping (power sleeping as you call it)

I also have a trophy (reminder) pair of insulated electrical snips/cutters which have a 3-4mm hole in the middle and two golden marks on them, where I cut a 'LIVE CABLE' thinking I had turned of the power supply and had in fact turned off another unit !

Stay safe mate and keep well within your limits

A 'concerned' chillerman

install monkey
01-10-2011, 09:49 AM
never crashed the van-as a result of exhaustion.
the power nap is whilst on site,get ur head down in a plantroom.youll feel better ,more alert and also the knowledge that ur getting paid to snooze.
as for mistakes at work,i always test for power and double check-saves u blowing a hole in ur snips.
15yr ago we did an all nighter( i wasnt running this) at a ntl warrington,the job was to remove unused cabling from power sockets under the floor of a data ctr, we had 30mins to identify circuits then strip out afterwards all the cabling was 1ph and 3ph swa to commando sockets, 1 lad was hacksawing a cable whilst sat on the raised floor,and bang,he **** himself-this was at around 4am, then the last cable he cut bang again,i think he **** himself-2 holes in his hacksaw blade-proves that a job can go safely if planned ,organised and risks are minimalised.

01-10-2011, 10:14 AM

Well thats good - illiminates the confusion on your power napps

My misshaps were also 15 plus years ago

The lad working with you was probaly saved by the swa protection being earthed

Had he hit 2 phases only or just one phase, there is a good chance he would not be here now

R's chillerman

install monkey
01-10-2011, 10:22 AM
he was a ****e spark anyway-bit queer too,!!


Well thats good - illiminates the confusion on your power napps

My misshaps were also 15 plus years ago

The lad working with you was probaly saved by the swa protection being earthed

Had he hit 2 phases only or just one phase, there is a good chance he would not be here now

R's chillerman

01-10-2011, 10:30 AM
back to the original question yr employer should have night working overtime covered in his employees hand book if he doesnt well you can do wot you like lol all companies i have worked for pay night work at time ana half rate and you were not expected to work the next day WTD can be quoted if you want a get out as most employers never heard of it you wont get paid yr basic 8hrs though but if u put 12hrs in at time an half it makes it worth it over a few days always found i got more done at night so you can power nap an go shoppin next day if i were you i would get it clarified as you dont wanna bad situation comin about cos boss makes rules up as he feels like it and you dont wanna be argueing when tired

01-10-2011, 10:43 AM
The best thing I find with WTD is dont sign the opt out form, which I think should be banned

Not signing does not mean you can not work more than 48 hours but gives you the option to control when you do work extra hours and can pull it up when needed to restrain the bosses unreasonable requirements

Agree Simon, most companies that expect you to work unsocialable hours either have a written rule for these occasions or have an unwritten rule where as you just come in late and book from your normal start time

Un-written rules are good I like them as most companies dont realise that they are in fact part of your t's&c's when they become a regular normal way of working and will stand up in court/tribunal

R's chillerman

01-10-2011, 11:01 AM
i do believe the opt out is no longer an option as WTD is now part of employment law as it is an EU thing and the opt out was a tempary reprieve for fridge men who had no life lmfao :)
if its not law oh well will be soon :)

01-10-2011, 11:14 AM
The opt out is still valid (look at GP's & hospital doctors/surgeons)

And it was actually incorperated into my contract

I just laughed as it can not be enforced when incorperated into contract

And I have been working to what will be classed as my normal working conditions from day one, and have backed this up in email, with them allowing this to happen/continue makes my contract as good as meaningless

My work hours are 8:00-17:00

I have stated I will work 7:00-15:00 & skip or cut lunch breaks

Lunch breaks have to be made available at a minimum of 30min but there is no law that says you have to take one

Employment law is a minefield of constantly changing rules that very few companies can keep up with and most can not control the 'norm' which is what a tribunal always looks at

Meaning if you reguarly do something, it is accepted as the norm, be it benefit or loss to you or company

R's chillerman

01-10-2011, 11:15 AM
WTD opt out


install monkey
01-10-2011, 12:27 PM
maybe if our basic wage was better and a loaf of bread didnt cost 5 then there would be less need for overtime but as the majority of bosses are greedy and dont like to reward the hard working we are in this difficult situation

WTD opt out


01-10-2011, 12:36 PM

the price of housing up your end is a lot cheaper than down here
a loaf of bread is roughly 22-30 bob
salary wise I am quite happy with my basic which although a few k on yours does reflect cost of working the West End and living down here
You can not whinge either hitting 50k plus, many managers dont hit that

R's chillerman

install monkey
01-10-2011, 12:44 PM
im aiming for 60k this year as i havent had a payrise for a bit,plus the ****s havent paid me any comission for 2-3 yrs so sod it- oh and im having a few days off at christmas,whats the policy on holidays-normally entitled to about 21 days and if u dont use them then u lose them,they dont pay u for them unless u leave-so if u dont take them are they liable ??

01-10-2011, 07:20 PM
Uk entitlement for full time employment is

20 days holiday plus bank holidays

As far as I am aware it is down to you to take your entitlement

And most companies state accrued holiday not taken by the end of the year

will not be paid in lou but forfitted

the company meets its legal obligation by providing holiday

and as I said above regarding dinner breaks, they have to make them available by law

but no laws exist stating you must take your entitlement to lunch or holiday

R's chillerman

18-11-2011, 02:41 PM
We normally pay time and a half for evening works then give the lads a day off at the end of the week (so they do Mon-Thu nights) then have Friday off. We then pay them 8hrs at normal rate for the Friday.

Everyone, including our lawyers, seem to be happy with this arrangement (apart from the Customer's having to pay for the lads doing nothing for a day!!).

Hope this helps!