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Employment Tribunal holds that homecare providers agree to pay backdated National Minimum Wage to care workers for travelling and waiting time between care appointments

In a claim ongoing since 2016, three homecare service providers have agreed to pay ten care workers the national minimum wage (NMW) for travelling and waiting time between care appointments.  Approximately £100,000 is the amount of the backdated payments in total.

The agreement between the parties is recorded by the employment tribunal in a short judgment by consent. This does not give any opinion on whether the NMW is legally due to the claimants in respect of travelling and waiting time based on the specific facts of the case.

The judgment states that the claimants asked for the methodology they used to calculate the value of their claims to be appended as a “useful guide” for similar claims.

Key aspects of the claimants’ methodology are as follows:

  • A sample reference period was chosen.
  • To calculate waiting time, the case of Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Ltd [2014] ICR 275 was used as a yardstick. Two issues not explicitly addressed in this case were raised: first, that care workers should not be penalised if the employer rosters them inefficiently; and second, that they should be paid for gaps between appointments that are not sufficient to allow them to return home and relax. Gaps exceeding 60 minutes were disregarded for the purpose of the calculation.
  • Google Maps and Citymapper were used to estimate travel times between postcodes, based on off-peak journeys.
  • To calculate the total value of their claims, the claimants added together travelling time between appointments during the day for gaps of 60 minutes or less, waiting time between appointments where travel was undertaken and there was an additional gap after travel and before the next appointment (but where the overall gap between appointments was less than 60 minutes), and the total duration of an appointment.

This methodology is not binding on future cases. Although suggested by the claimants, there are aspects of it which potentially underestimate the value of their claims (for example, disregarding gaps between appointments exceeding 60 minutes, and using off-peak travelling times when a number of claimants allegedly travelled at peak). It therefore remains to be seen whether the methodology is useful enough to be relied upon by claimants going forward.