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Homecare services provider settles travel time claim brought by ex-employee

A provider of homecare services has settled a claim brought by one of its ex-employees over payment for the time she spent travelling to and from appointments.

The claimant, Caroline Barlow, worked as a home care worker for MiHomecare, which is part of Mitie, for four months from October 2014 to February 2015.

Barlow attended an average of eight appointments a day at various locations in the South West of England.

Her lawyers, Leigh Day, brought a legal action in the Employment Tribunal over the company’s practice of not paying carers for the time they spent travelling to and from these appointments.

The law firm claimed that without payment for her travel time, Barlow was being paid less than the minimum wage per hour and that this constituted an unlawful deduction of wages.

Last month MiHomecare agreed to pay £1,250 to settle the claim.

The company has been approached for comment.

According to a report on the BBC, in January MiHomecare paid 100 carers in South Wales up to £2,500 each for previously unpaid travel time.

The company also said that following a review in June 2015 it had ‘’revised all pay rates that required adjustment and amended care rosters to ensure that they complied with relevant legislation.’’

Leigh Day lawyer Jasmine Patel said: “We are very pleased to have settled this case. Ms Barlow’s travel to and from appointments was a necessary part of her job and as such, she should have been paid for it.

“We believe there are potentially thousands more care workers, working for MiHomecare, and other care providers, who are, or who were, being paid less than the National Minimum Wage.”

A Mitie spokeswoman said: “When this came up a year ago we said that if our carers pay was wrong we would correct it and this is exactly what we have done. We have corrected all the errors that we have found and have paid or are in the process of paying any money due to our carers. Therefore any suggestion that MiHomecare could face a class action in respect of unpaid travel time is nonsense.
“In June 2015, after our payroll compliance review, we revised all pay rates that required adjustment immediately and amended care rosters to ensure that we are complying with relevant legislation. We conduct regular ongoing payroll checks for all our care workers to ensure compliance and continue to work closely with HMRC to ensure the interpretation of minimum wage legislation is correct.”

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