Payment for Meetings

14 June 2018

By way of a brief background of facts, Smiths’ City had been holding pre-work meetings (approximately 15 minutes long), prior to store opening hours.  The purpose of the meetings was work related, i.e. sales (volumes and targets), promotions and customer feedback.  Staff attending were not paid for their attendance, which was more or less compulsory. We know from experience that this is common in retail environments and many other business sectors. 

In 2016, a Labour Inspector issued an improvement notice that found these meetings to be work time, and that in some cases, staff were not being paid minimum hourly wages by not including this time, therefore staff should be back paid for time worked but not paid minimum rates.  

Additionally, with regard to whether or not staff had been paid the minimum wage, the Court found that notwithstanding any payments of commissions or bonuses to staff on top of hourly rates, these are in addition to, rather than in substitution for minimum wage requirements.  Smiths’ City was also liable for back-payments to staff. 

This case is a timely reminder of the increasing the emphasis on employers to ensure that staff are paid for time “worked”, and to ensure where minimum wage rates are paid, that hours are accounted for a per hour wage basis.  Any additional payments, such as bonuses or commission rates may not be used to offset payments that fall short of minimum wage obligations. 

You can access a more in depth analysis of the case here

You can access the full decision of the Court here.