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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Working time: output work; waiting time

The nature of output work means that a worker is generally employed to produce output often at a location of the worker’s choosing (for example at their home). Such circumstances mean that it is unusual to find an output worker to be engaged for a period of waiting for work, such as being on call or stand by.

However, although uncommon, any time an employer requires a worker performing output work to be available at or near a place of work for the purposes of working is regarded as working time for national minimum wage purposes.

For example;

  • A worker works at home making Christmas crackers. His employer is due to deliver a batch of materials to him at 10:00am. The worker must sign personally to acknowledge receipt of the materials. The employer does not actually deliver the materials until 11:00am. The one hour that the worker was waiting for the delivery is regarding as waiting time for national minimum wage purposes.
  • A worker has to collect materials to make specialist cardboard boxes from her employer’s premises. Her employer requires her to be there at 8:30am. The employer does not turn up at the premises until 9:10am. The 40 minutes is regarded as waiting time for national minimum wage purposes.

It does not matter whether during such time the employer provides any work for the worker to do, or whether the worker actually performs work. The relevant factors are the employer requiring the presence of the worker at a specified location and time of their choosing and the worker complying with that requirement.