Do you pay workers to put on and off safety gear?
The attached article (https://tinyurl.com/v9hc4x5) is interesting – many companies will not have paid employees for the time taken to put off and off safety gear!
In the meat industry, it does take quite a bit of time with the food and hygiene regulations to put on and off gear, and staff do have to take their gear on and off multiple times a day. The Employment Court accepted evidence that on average it takes 15-20 minutes a day for each worker.
Does this apply to the construction industry which also has a lot of safety gear?
Well, it would really depend on the extent of the “work” required by the employees in putting on their safety gear.
When it is as simple as an employee pulling on high vis clothing when they get out of bed in the morning, then that wouldn’t be “work”.
However, when it is more complex, say an employee needing to get harnessed up for work at heights, then that would be “work” in our view.
There is no definition of “work” in the Minimum Wage Act and the Courts have held that what constitutes work will always be case specific. The Court of Appeal has said though that, the greater the constraints on an employee, the greater the responsibilities and the greater the benefit to the employer, the more likely it is that the activity in question ought to be regarded as work.
If you’d like to chat about your circumstances, feel free to get in touch.