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Homecare workers to receive money for travel

17th December 2013

The decision at the heart of the employment solicitor predictions stems from an employment appeal tribunal which said that a homecare worker in the north-east of England should receive pay for the time she spent travelling between visits as well as sums for the time spent sleeping overnight at the homes of those in need of care.

Previously, homecare workers had only received payment for the time spent at a person’s house, not including time spent travelling or time spent sleeping at the home of the cared-for person. As it stands, only a tiny minority of homecare workers – around two percent – receive money for time spent travelling between visits.

It is now thought that homecare providers will have to revise all their working arrangements and contracts with employees or risk being fined and, potentially, criminally sanctioned.

A survey carried out last year by the UKHCA (United Kingdom Homecare Association) found the overwhelming majority of homecare providers were only paid for contact time by local councils. Less than 2% of providers in England were paid anything towards travel time.

In the wake of the ruling, Colin Angel, policy director of the United Kingdom Homecare Association, says that employers need to look at how “emerging case law affects compliance with the minimum wage”. In addition, he said, the ruling will “pose considerable challenges for employers operating the complex working patterns in homecare services, particularly over the interpretation of ‘working time'”.

Those that fail to comply risk being ordered to compensate employees, particularly if they instruct employment solicitors to take their cases to employment tribunals.

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