- 04 April 2013
- 4 min read
Is your search for jobs ripping you off?
Private Eye were contacted by a jobseeker in Wales, telling them that fully 15 agencies in Wales were offering work where contact time was paid at £6.19 – the National Minimum Wage for over-21s. Sound fine, right? The catch is that travel time was unpaid. This is, of course, ludicrous; if I’m travelling between clients, I’m at work; not out for a jolly daytime jaunt to see the local sights. Extrapolating this out, Private Eye provides an example where someone visiting 6 service users between 7.30am and 12.30pm could theoretically net just £18 in pay.
When the magazine asked to Jobcentreplus about their listing of said work, they argued it was legal because the job was a 0-hour contract. In other words, Jobcentreplus think that 0-hours means employers can pay you whatever they want and no-one needs to investigate. However, the Government department of Business, Innovation and Skills state that time between clients is definitely time at work. This means that, regardless of the 0-hour racket being employed here, travel time is definitely payable.
The UK Home Care Association argues that this has come about due to cost-cutting and subsequent decrease in payments to service providers. Some local authorities are only paying agencies for contact time and the agencies are expecting to pick up the travel time costs. This does sound unfair and which one can feel some sympathy for the providers. But of course in some cases, this has been foisted onto us, leading to a theoretical 10- hour day paying around £36 before tax. No-one should have to work a 50-hour week to take home just £720 a month, pre-tax. It’s not sustainable.
HMRC are investigating this and urge those being scammed by illegal payment like this to call them on 0800 9172368. Unison estimate as many as 200,000 workers are affected by this – are you one of them?