Learnings from the Smith City Case

Many of you will be familiar with the recent Employment Court decision in the Smith City case.  The Court found that the decision of Smith City Group Ltd not to pay their employees for the 15-minute sales meetings before opening its doors each morning, did not meet minimum wage requirements and was unlawful.  These meetings were voluntary, and employees did not have to attend, however it was very much the expectation.  The Court found that if the activity is integral to a worker’s role, and that there is an expectation to attend, then it is considered work and employees should be paid for it.


Based on this decision it may be time to have a think about your business and any potential pitfalls for you and your waged employees.  If you hold meetings outside of core working hours are your waged employees paid for this time?  Are there any activities that your employees participate in that are integral to their role and an expectation, if so, are they remunerated accordingly?  It is also worth noting the 6-year liability, any subsequent claim can be backdated six years, so you will want to ensure you are getting this right.


Another element to consider are salaried employees.  Are there any expectations on them to perform duties or attend meetings outside of their core contracted hours?  If so, is this captured and clearly outlined within their employment agreement?

The Smith City case is a great reminder to take a look at your own practices, and address anything that needs to change, to ensure your employees are being paid correctly.

If you need any assistance with redrafting clauses in your employment agreements or advice on how you remunerate your waged employees, please get in touch.

Photo Credit: Sharon McCutcheon