Call to pay live-in care staff by task

Councils and individuals would not be able to afford live-in care
if live-in workers were paid for every hour spent in a client’s
home, a care provider has warned.

Stephen Green, managing director of the Independent Living
Organisation, issued the warning after a court case involving a
woman who worked for his firm.

Julie Walton said she was paid £1.31 an hour for caring for a
woman with learning difficulties. She slept on the woman’s premises
and carried out tasks such as washing and cooking for three days a
week (news, page 11, 6 March).

But the Court of Appeal rejected her claim that she was paid less
than the minimum wage. Lord Justice Aldous said that, under the
terms of her contract, Walton “was not paid by reference to the
time for which she worked” but “by reference to the tasks
required”. He said six hours and 50 minutes was “a realistic
assessment” of the time taken to carry out the duties she was
contracted to perform.

Green explained that if live-in care was categorised as “working
time”, a live-in worker would be paid for every hour spent in the
client’s home whether working, sleeping or having a break.

The GMB union, which represented Walton, is considering whether to
pursue her claim further.

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