A recent case at the Employment Tribunal has seen a group of 10 care workers awarded £100,000 after it was ruled in their favour that they should have been paid for the time spent travelling between patient visits.

The claimants, who were working for care provider Sevacare at the time, were working up to 14 hours per day when travel time was not paid. This meant that the average hourly pay on their payslips was recorded way below the legal minimum hourly rate, with some receiving less than £4 per hour.

Sevacare’s work contracts were taken over by Kaamil Education Limited, Diligent Care Services Limited, and Premier Carewaiting Limited who jointly inherited the case were ordered to pay the claimants.

The judgment at the Employment Tribunal, ruling in favour of the care workers, said that travelling and waiting time of up to 60 minutes between appointments should be compensated as working time. The claimants were awarded £10,000 each.

Unison, the UK’s largest union, has stated the decision has implications for thousands of care staff across the country.

One of the Claimants, speaking to the BBC, who still works for the same employer expressed her joy at the decision. She does however advise “They were all clapping for us, but now it’s all gone back to normal. And I think that is very bad. We work so hard. It is difficult to make ends meet”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are very clear that social care workers must be paid at least the national minimum wage, with those over 25 earning at least the national living wage, and they should be paid for the time spent caring for clients, travelling to appointments and waiting for them to start.

This case should serve as a warning to employers that you must ensure all employees are paid the legal minimum hourly rate to avoid costly Employment Tribunal action. Details of how employees are paid and what they are paid for should be included in a contract of employment.

If you are an employee or employer seeking advice on contracts of employment, pay grievances, or making or defending an Employment Tribunal claim, contact Farleys’ employment law specialists on 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry by email and a member of the team will get in touch with you.