Care workers being paid less than minimum wage

It has been revealed that thousands of care workers across England and Wales are being paid less than the national minimum wage as companies are being forced to pay for travel time.

Using a freedom of information request, UNISON discovered that 54 per cent of local authorities in England don’t state in their contracts that firms must pay employees for time spent travelling between visits, with the situation noted as even worse in Wales where 40 per cent of councils stipulate that private companies should pay for travel time.

Only paying for time spent in the home of people that workers care for can bring care workers’ hourly pay rates well below the government’s national living wage, currently £7.83 for those aged 25 and over.

Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary 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.”