3 Apr 2014

Union seeks travel time pay

6:55 pm on 3 April 2014

A union representing low paid home care workers is confident it will get all its members paid for travel time as part of their day-to-day job.

At present, thousands of employees are only paid for the time they are in a client's home, yet some are driving up to 600km a week to get to those homes.

The Public Service Association says the situation is plainly unfair for workers who are either earning the minimum wage or just above it. They get paid about 30 cents per kilometre for the use of their vehicles.

The union had success with a similar challenge for the rights of vulnerable workers.

In October 2011, the Court of Appeal ruled that health and disability care workers must be paid the minimum wage for sleepover shifts.

In this latest case, PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said home care workers are spending several hours a day on the road, in effect driving for free.

Negotiations to resolve the issue begin next week.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says under the existing system, some caregivers are compensated for in-between travel time, while others are not and the negotiations will try to provide greater consistency across the country.