More than half of councils across England and Wales are failing to ensure homecare companies pay their staff for travel time, new research has revealed.
The freedom of information request by Unison found 54% of councils in England and 60% in Wales fail to stipulate in care contracts that employees should be paid for time spent travelling between visits.
The union warns that this means thousands of care workers are being paid less than the national minimum wage.
‘It is an absolute disgrace that hard-working homecare workers are being penalised in this way,’ said Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis. ‘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.’
However, the situation has improved since 2016 when under a quarter (24%) of local authorities in England, and only 9% in Wales, made pay for travel time a contractual condition.