Some jobs require or allow you to sleep on-site, but whether you receive pay for the hours you sleep varies depending on the circumstances. If you need help determining whether your sleep time should be legally paid, we can help. Gibbons Law Group understands how federal and state employment laws apply to your situation and is ready to answer any questions you might have about sleep time.

Contact us today: 704-612-0038.

When Should My Employer Pay Me for Sleep Time in North Carolina?

In most cases, if your shift is long enough to require sleep but less than 24 hours, your employer should pay you for the entire shift. This includes any sleep time or other approved time used for personal activities. If your shift is 24 hours or longer, your employer may exclude sleep time, up to 8 hours per shift, provided adequate sleep facilities are provided and you are permitted uninterrupted sleep.  Any employee who cannot get at least five hours of sleep per night must receive pay for all hours worked, including sleep time.

This occurs in many situations, but a common example is an on-call doctor or other type of caregiver. For example, a nurse puts a patient to bed at 9 p.m. and inserts a feeding tube. The nurse must remain on-site in case of an issue, and unhook the tube at 1 a.m. the following morning. She is free to use the time in between as personal or sleep time. Because this is an extended shift but lasts less than 24 hours, her employer must pay her for every hour she is at work. 

It is important to note that, although many employers provide sleeping facilities, this has no bearing on whether they legally must pay you for sleep time. The most important factor is the length of your shift and the duties required.

What If I Live On-site or Work from Home?

The 24-hour rule does not apply to all situations. Sometimes, employees work from home or live on-site. This makes it more difficult to determine when they are at-work and when they are off-duty. Some examples of this include nannies and au-pairs, residence hall advisors, and apartment complex maintenance people and supervisors.

Even though you live on-site or work from the place you live, this does not mean you are on-the-clock 24/7. Instead, employers in these situations typically pay for actual hours worked and do not pay for time spent sleeping.

If you are on duty for more than 24 hours in a row, your employer may work with you to determine when you will have meals and when you will have up to eight hours off-duty to sleep. Your employer will deduct these meal breaks and sleep time from your pay. It is important to note that your employer cannot deduct sleep time from your check unless it allows you to have five hours of sleep uninterrupted each night.

For example, imagine you live and work at an apartment complex and are on-call as a maintenance technician. You have 48-hour on-call weekends when you must remain ready to react to any maintenance concern in the community. Unless your employer opts to pay you for all hours, you should receive bona fide meal breaks and five to eight hours of unpaid, off-duty sleep time each night.

What If It Is Hard to Determine Exactly How Many Hours I Worked?

There are some employment circumstances that do not fall neatly into any of these categories. In many of these cases, the best route is to work with your employer to come to a cooperative, reasonable agreement about your meal periods and sleep time during long shifts. It is important to note that this agreement must truly be cooperative. Your employer cannot make this decision without taking your input into consideration.

Once you reach an agreement, it needs to be in writing. Ensure it outlines everything you discussed, including the number of hours in each shift, when and how often you receive unpaid meal breaks, and how long you can sleep during your unpaid sleep time. Alternatively, ensure it defines any promises of payment for meal times or sleep time.

If you need help with this type of agreement, or if you have questions about whether your employer is following the law regarding paying for sleep time, we can help. We can determine how many hours of pay you deserve based on the facts of your case and can file a claim to recover unpaid sleep time wages.

Phil Gibbons, Charlotte, NC, Employee Rights Lawyer, Can Help You Recover Unpaid Sleep Time Wages.

Gibbons Law Group can help you understand your case and determine if your employer owes you unpaid sleep time wages. If necessary, we can also file a claim to recover the wages owed to you. The state and federal laws that outline sleep time pay are complex, but we can help you determine your employer’s obligation when it comes to paying you for sleep time at work.

Call our Charlotte, North Carolina office today at 704-612-0038 to schedule your complimentary consultation.