Travel time between sites that is required for ‘the purpose of duties carried out by the worker’ may be classed as working time under the time work provisions. The failure to pay such workers for travel time could result in them being paid less than the national minimum wage per hour, resulting in an unlawful deduction from wages.
A nationwide homecare company has recently reached an out of court settlement with a home care worker for the failure to pay her for travel time between appointments.
Historically where a person travelled to multiple sites in the course of their working day, each site has been treated as a separate shift. As a result of this the time travelling from one site to another has been unpaid.
However, a European case, Federacion De Servicios Privados del Sindicato Commissiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security cast doubt on whether this was the correct approach. In this case it was confirmed that where a person works at different sites, and is required to travel between these sites in the course of their duties, that the time spent travelling should be classed as working time.
In Whittlestone v BJP Home Support (a UK case) it was held that “if the work which the claimant was doing is properly to be regarded on the facts as ‘assignment work’ the travelling time which she spent should have been remunerated”. This means that if a person is required to work at different sites and is obliged to travel between those sites, then this travel time should be paid.
These decisions are important for those working in fields such as home care, as it suggests that time travelling from one appointment to another may be classed as working time, and so should be paid. The failure to do so could result in a failure to pay in line with the national minimum wage. If there has been an ongoing failure to pay them for this time, then they may have considerable back pay claims for this type of underpayment.
If you are concerned about whether you are being paid correctly, or if you have any other questions relating to your employment rights, then we can help. Here at Beecham Peacock we have a trusted relationship with some of the largest trade unions in the country to protect your working rights. For further information call us on 0191 232 3048 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.