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25th May 2016

Why we're paying our Care Heroes for their travel time

The question of travel time pay in the homecare sector has been back in the news again recently.  Although our generous rates of pay mean we’re not affected by recent settlements, we’ve decided to pay our Care Heroes for their travel time as well.

Payment for travel time for home carers has been in and out of the news over the past few years.  The question isn’t whether it should be paid, but whether not being paid for time spent travelling between clients means that carers are effectively being paid less than the minimum wage for the hours they work.

Major care company MiCarehome is facing a potential group action lawsuit from its staff after making an out-of-court settlement to one member of staff for unpaid travel time.  HM Revenue and Customs, which has the task of enforcing the minimum wage, is investigating more than 100 care providers  and says it is “taking targeted action against some of the biggest social care providers.”

The settlement by MiCarehome doesn’t have direct implications for TerraBlu.  We have always paid generously, so our staff earn more than the minimum wage even if travelling time is added into their hours; in addition to this, staff are reimbursed for their mileage.  But we have decided to set the bar within the industry and not only pay a generous wage, but also pay travel time.  Why?  Because we know that good care starts with good staff, and attracting the best staff means offering more than most.

Unfortunately, this has meant we have had to pass some of this increased cost onto our clients: we have put our fees up by 2%.  However, this is less than the cost to us of paying travel time, and significantly less than the 15% hike some of our competitors have imposed, citing ‘travel time costs’.

We’re happy to be leading the way in recognising the skill and dedication of our excellent home carers.  It’s just another little TerraBlu difference that makes such a big difference to the quality of the care we provide for our home care clients.