Manchester brewery JW Lees has won a landmark employment tribunal case over paying live-in managers for their off-duty time, which could have been a “death knell” for the trade, writes Gurjit Degun. The temporary manager, who has chosen not to be named, argued that she should have been paid at least the national minimum wage for providing extra security, supervision and cleaning while off-duty and living on-site at night. President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal Mr Justice Underhill, who heard her case on appeal in London on 14 July, said once the pub had closed for the night and the attendant duties were completed, there was no contractual requirement from JW Lees for the manager to take on any further duties until the pub reopened the next day. Employment Law Advisory Services’ Peter Mooney, who represented the brewery, said: “This was a hugely important case which, had the appeal been successful, could have become a death knell for hundreds of pubs across the country. “The claimant said she was working additional hours, over and above those covered by her salary, which meant she was earning less than the national minimum wage, but this had not been accepted by the employment tribunal, which had heard her original claim. “Because her job description from the brewery required her to live at the pub, she said she should receive additional payment for providing a 24-hour on-hand security, supervisory, and cleaning service but Mr Justice Underhill quite rightly ruled against this.” He added that, unlike nursing or care homes, or in situations where employees are by their terms and conditions required to sleep at their place of work or be on call, there was no such requirement in this case. Peter Coulson, legal editor of M&C Report's sister publication the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, admitted the ruling could have had major implications. He said: “This is an important clarification of employment law for live-in managers. In the past, there was often a tax implication for employees required to reside on the premises, but there is no licensing or other obligation, and the judge made that clear.”