Most people expect to be paid for all the time they spend travelling as part of their job – and at the same rate as the rest of their work. But most home care companies still do not pay their employees for all the time they spend travelling between appointments.
It means the vast majority of care workers are, in effect, being paid significantly less than the rate stated on their contract. For some, this may mean they are being paid less than the minimum wage.
This calculator is designed for care workers, to help you find out what you are actually being paid.
Click here to go straight to the calculator.
Disclaimer: this calculator is for advisory purposes only. It may not reflect all the particular details of your contract.
What do I need to use the calculator?
Ideally you’ll have payslips and rotas, or a record of the visits you attended. If you have these, click here to start the calculator.
If you don’t have them you can still use the calculator but the results may not be quite as accurate. You have three options:
– estimate how much time you spent travelling.
– ask your employer for copies of your previous rotas and payslips. Your employer is legally obliged to give you copies from the last two years.
– if you have your payslips but not your rotas, you can get an idea of the time spent travelling from the ‘mileage’, or fuel, expenses described on your payslip. We have made another calculator for this. Click here to use this calculator.*
Can I use the calculator to work out pay rates from previous years?
Yes. You can use the calculator for any time period you wish, either in the past or present day.
For the most accurate results, use the time period that corresponds with a single payslip and the relevant rotas. Use the calculator a separate time for each payslip you have. You can print a copy each time you use it to save the results through the ‘File’ option in the menu at the top of your browser.
What counts as travel time?
You can usually use the whole gap between appointments when calculating your travel time, rather than the actual time you spent walking or driving. So for example if you had a five minute gap between appointments but it only took you two minutes to travel between them, you should count the whole five minutes as travel time.
Do not include a gap between appointments if there was enough time for you to return home in between them. If you had a four hour gap between appointments for example and that meant you had enough time to return home for lunch, you should not count any of this as travel time. Click here for more details on the legal context.
My company says they are paying me for me travel – so why does the calculator say I’m being paid a lower rate than is on my contract?
Several companies have been called out for effectively paying less than the minimum wage as a result of not paying travel time. In response, many have increased the rate they pay care workers for their time spent in visits so that, once travel time is included, they are paying just above the minimum wage. Others have introduced travel ‘top up’ payments for the same purpose. This has been enough to satisfy the government’s minimum wage compliance inspectors.
However the actual rate of pay is still significantly below the one stated on their contracts. Once travel time is included, a £10/hour contractual rate may drop to an actual pay rate of just the minimum wage of £7.50, for example.
What should I do if I am being underpaid?
The government does little to support care workers or to enforce minimum wage law. Few workplaces are unionised and hiring a lawyer can be expensive.
However the Industrial Workers of the World union told Corporate Watch that care workers can contact them at info[AT]iww.org.uk, 0800 9989 149, or through their website (click here).
Unison also told Corporate Watch care workers can contact them through this page of their website (click here).
If you think you have been paid less than the minimum wage, you may have a legal claim against your company for compensation under National Minimum Wage regulations (though again, finding a lawyer to take the case may be difficult). You will need to get further advice on this as such claims are complicated and require more details about your work than those that are included here. Click here for the government guidance, as of April 2017.
Click here for current and historical minimum wage rates and click here to cross-check your findings here with the government’s minimum wage calculator (this is not specifically designed for care workers and does not have separate entries for travel time so make sure to include that in your total hours worked).
If you have any feedback on this calculator please get in touch.
* Note that the results using this method will not be as accurate. It will only show you the time spent on the road, not the whole gap between appointments. At the same time, the time spent driving to and from your first and last appointments do not count as work, yet they will be included here.
Research like this takes time and money. By supporting us with a monthly donation, you will help us keep doing it. Click here to make a regular contribution.