One of the UK’s largest care providers, MiHomecare, is being sued by a former worker for paying her less than the national minimum wage.
Care worker Caroline Barlow worked for MiHomecare in rural Devon for four months and had between 8 and 12 appointments each day with elderly or disabled patients in their homes. She would drive between appointments for anything from 15 minutes and up to an hour and a half, time she claims she was not paid for. The time spent driving between appointments meant Barlow often worked up to 12 hours a day while being paid for 7.5 hours. She was paid £7.68 per hour, but when the unpaid hours are added Barlow claims that her actual hourly pay was below the current minimum wage of £6.50.
All companies are required to pay the minimum wage to their workers, though workers such as interns and apprentices are not necessarily entitled to the minimum wage. The government is increasing the minimum wage to £7.20 for workers over 25 from next April, and companies not paying their workers minimum wage face fines from the government. The increased minimum wage will be known as the national living wage.
Barlow’s claim is that she should be paid for the hours she spent driving between appointments due to them being an integral part of her job. If her claim is successful it could have implications for not only the care providing industry, but all industries that does not pay their workers for time spent traveling between assignments, such as cleaning companies.
Companies risk having to pay historic millions of pounds in underpaid wages if Barlow’s claim is successful, in addition to increased wages from the national living wage the government is introducing.
At Fiona Bruce Solicitors our services are aimed to create working environments that minimize claims brought. If you need legal advice on handling a similar situation, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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