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Travel time and national minimum wage

17 March 2016

It has today been reported that MiHomecare faces the possibility of a group action from employees over a failure to pay the National Minimum Wage.

Caroline Barlow, a care worker, sued the company for a failure to pay her the National Minimum Wage for the period she was travelling between various clients’ homes. The case settled out of court but other employees have now suggested they will bring claims.

Whilst time spent travelling to work does not usually count as working time for the purpose of the National Minimum Wage Act, travelling on business during normal working hours does. Therefore if MiHomecare were not paying their employees the National Minimum Wage for the time they were traveling between clients’ homes, they will be in breach of the act. Not only could this result in successful unlawful deduction of wages claims, HMRC can also take action directly against MiHomecare. From next month non-compliant employers will face higher fines and will potentially be disqualified from holding company directorships. In addition, MiHomecare could face a fine of up to 200% of the underpayment due to each worker. Not only would this be a disaster reputationally for MiHomecare but could prove expensive given they reportedly employ 4,500 care workers.

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