Over half of councils don’t insist on care staff being paid for full day of work, FOI request reveals

A Freedom of Information Request made by Unison has revealed that more than half of councils fail to insist that care workers are paid for their whole day of work, leading to thousands being paid below the minimum wage.

31 Jan 2019| News

Photo by Matheus Ferrero

Contracts with care providers made by 54% of local authorities in England and 60% in Wales do not state that workers must be paid for the time spent travelling between appointments, despite the fact that this takes up a significant proportion of the working day.

And this does appear to be having a negative impact on workers’ rights in the sector, as a recent survey by Unison found that 63% of homecare workers are only paid for the time they spend in the homes of service users.

The union’s new report Pressed for Time and Out of Pocket found that the situation has improved since 2016 when 24% of local authorities in England and 9% in Wales stipulated that workers must be paid for travel time, but progress is slow.

Unison General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “It is an absolute disgrace that hard-working homecare workers are being penalised in this way. Poor rates of pay along with the pressure to keep time spent in each home to a minimum make life tough and play a huge part in the high turnover of staff.

“Both the Westminster and Cardiff governments should bring in a new legal duty for councils so they are clear that homecare providers must pay employees for every hour they are at work.

“Any companies who fail to do this should be prevented from delivering care services in the future.”