A group of home care providers was recently ordered to pay more than £100,000 in backdated earnings to home care staff after a four-year court battle. The dispute stemmed from the issue of unpaid travel time effectively taking hourly rates below the National Minimum Wage.
The result wasn’t automatically binding on other cases, but there are bound to be implications for care providers that don’t pay care workers for time spent travelling between appointments.
The easy thing to do is to point the finger at skinflint employers who don’t care about employees. As we all know, the situation is much more complex than that. The rates that commissioners are able or willing to pay for care are at the heart of the issue.
If commissioners are only willing to pay for time spent delivering care, and at rates that offer little scope for making a margin, it leaves many providers with a dilemma.
What Should Care Providers Do?
Even if you’re not in a position to compensate staff for travel time you still have options. Minimising that time is clearly an effective way to limit the risk of unintentionally underpaying people.
Maybe it’s time to ditch manual or outdated rostering and time recording systems and replace them with something that’s up to the job. The cost of upgrading your management systems could be small compared to the costs and damage to your reputation that could come from an employment tribunal. In fact, it should save you money by making your operation more efficient.
One feature that you might find really handy is an automated alert if any employee’s effective hourly rate (including unpaid travel) falls below the National Minimum Wage. This functionality is built into CareFor. It gives you the peace of mind that you are paying all of your staff fairly and that you won’t be at risk of future financial penalties.
Find out more and book your CareFor demo.