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Employment Law Case Update: Time Spent Travelling

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A ground breaking case, which has taken four years to conclude, has highlighted the need for employers to ensure that their employees are being paid ther National Minimum Wage, and that their time working is adequately reflected to ensure this.  Our Employment Law team here review the case of Harris and others v Kaamil Education Ltd and others and explains what the implications for employers moving forwards.

This case was first heard in the Employment Tribunal (ET) in 2016. It has taken four years, but on 3 September 2020, Judge Goodman, with the consent of all parties, was finally able to conclude this case. 

This case centered upon ten homecare workers whose role it was to visit and provide care services to elderly and disabled residents in their home. It was not uncommon for a homecare worker to visit up to fifteen residents in any given day and taking into account the time spent travelling and waiting in between resident appointments, a typical shift could start at 7 am and not finish until 9 pm.

Their salary was calculated in accordance with the time spent with the resident however, any time spent travelling between care appointments was specifically excluded and not paid. This method often resulted in homecare workers receiving less than £4 per hour which fell far below the National Minimum Wage.

Unison, the trade union acting on behalf of the homecare workers, took the view that all of the time spent travelling and waiting between care appointments should be construed as time worked and as such, was caught by the National Minimum Wage Regulations so should have been paid. This prompted the issuing of claims against three care companies for unlawful deductions from wages in respect of non-payment of the National Minimum Wage.

On the 3rd September 2020, the homecare service providers agreed to pay the ten homecare workers the National Minimum Wage for the time they had spent travelling and waiting. The backdated payments are likely to be in the region of £100,000, which the three care companies have been ordered to pay within twenty-one days.

The General Secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis said “It’s time the skills ​and experience of care staff were respected instead of them being underpaid and undervalued,” and the ‘’ruling sends a message to other ​care bosses that it’s ​completely unacceptable to pay staff illegal poverty wages.”.

There is now a call on the Government to get tough ​with employers in the hope that this would bring an end to these law-breaking practices. Whilst this judgment is not binding on future cases, employers should take care to ensure that they are complying with the National Minimum Wage Regulations.

If you have any questions regarding this article, you can call our Employment team today on 023 8071 7717 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk.

This was previously part of our weekly Employment Law Newsletter. If you would like to subscribe, please email us at events@warnergoodman.co.uk or just fill in our subscription form.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.