United Kingdom Homecare Association
The professional association for homecare providers

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UKHCA Media Release

Homecare Workers' Travel Time - 29/10/2014

Commenting on an enquiry made under the Freedom of Information Act to local councils in England by Unison on the commissioning of homecare services (note 1), United Kingdom Homecare Association notes the following:

Payment of at least the National Minimum Wage for all working time, including applicable travel time, is the law.

UKHCA is pleased to see that Unison has clearly identified the commissioning and procurement practices of local councils and the underfunding of contracts as a major issue for the homecare sector.

Fewer than 2% of employers receive a separate payment from councils to cover careworkers' travel time or travel costs, which have to be met from the hourly rate they receive for delivering care (note 2).

Unison has echoed previous work undertaken by UKHCA to make councils more responsible for the prices it pays for homecare. UKHCA's Minimum Price for Homecare suggests that this should be at least £15.74/hour, if providers are paid solely for the time workers spend delivering care (note 3).

Payment of at least the Minimum Wage is less an issue about whether workers receive a separate travel time payment, as suggested by Unison, but whether councils pay enough for employers to meet all their legal obligations, including workers' pay.

Regrettably some of Unison's proposals, if adopted, would add unnecessary cost to already constrained public sector budgets, which would be better invested in front-line services. Local authorities are neither sufficiently skilled nor resourced to police the Minimum Wage, which is the responsibility of HMRC. It would be more effective for councils to ensure they cover providers' actual costs of delivering care through proper financial modelling to ensure high quality services and pay workers at or above Minimum Wage for working time.

UKHCA already provides a Minimum Wage Toolkit for homecare providers to assist them interpret the National Minimum Wage regulations correctly, given the complex nature of homecare working patterns (note 4). We are pleased to see that statutory guidance to support the Care Act 2014, issued by Government to councils in England, clarifies the obligations of councils on their responsibilities (Note 5).


Notes for Editors

1. According to information provided to UKHCA, 6.54% (11 councils) responding to Unison's enquiry stated that they made a contractual condition on their homecare providers to pay their care workers for their travel time. 21% (36 councils) said they undertook some form of scrutiny of pay records or other documentary evidence to check compliance with National Minimum Wage compliance.

2. Angel, C (2012) Care is not a commodity, page 39.

3. Angel, C (2014) Minimum Price for Homecare.

4. UKHCA National Minimum Wage Toolkit:

5. Department of Health (2014) Care and Support Statutory Guidance, Issued under the Care Act 2014. Paragraphs 4.30-4.32.

6. United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) is the professional association for more than 2,200 domiciliary care providers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

7. UKHCA’s mission, as a member-led professional association, is to promote high quality, sustainable care services so that people can continue to live at home and in their local community. We do this by campaigning, and through leadership and support to social care providers.

8. UKHCA has a vetting procedure for its members, all of whom agree to abide by the Association’s Code of Practice, which can be found at

9. UKHCA represents 33% of independent and voluntary sector providers in the UK, and estimates that its member organisations employ over 119,000 homecare workers, who deliver over 2.79 million hours of care per week to around 166,000 service users, valued at £1.62 billion per annum.

10. There are over 9,100 registered homecare providers across the UK, the majority of which (84%) are in the independent and voluntary sectors. We estimate that these organisations employ over 438,000 homecare workers, who deliver over 6.29 million hours of care per week to around 536,000 service users, valued at £5.2 billion per annum.

11. Homecare encompasses provision of personal care, to people in their own homes. For many, homecare is the alternative of choice for people who would otherwise need to move into residential accommodation.

12. The majority of homecare is funded by the state (usually by local council social services departments, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), or Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland). However, homecare services are largely delivered by independent and voluntary sector providers working under contracts with the statutory sector.

13. Regularly updated statistical information about homecare services in all four UK administrations is available from "An Overview of the UK Domiciliary Care Sector" at

14. Interviewees from UKHCA for broadcast media are available on request.

15. For further information please contact:

Colin Angel, Policy and Campaigns Director
United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd
Sutton Business Centre, Restmor Way, Wallington, SM6 7AH

Telephone: 020 8661 8188
Mobile: 07920 788993

Registered in England, No. 3083104.

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