Haringey Council has committed £4.4 million to implement new contracts in order to ensure that every home care worker in the region receives the London Living Wage (LLW), HCI has learned.
The news comes after three care providers contracted by the council were ordered by an employment tribunal to pay 10 home care workers £100,000 in back pay.
In a case brought by the trade union Unison in 2016, the court found that the providers breached wage rules by paying workers just half of what was the £7.20-an-hour national minimum wage at the time.
The union said the companies had failed to pay their staff travel time, despite working for up to 14 hours a day.
Home Care Insight understands that the case relates to a period when the care workers were all employed by Sevacare which, due to serious concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission and the council, ceased operating in Haringey in 2016.
This triggered a transfer of staff to the three providers – Kaamil Education Limited, Diligent Care Services Limited, and Premier Carewaiting Limited – amongst others.
Councillor Sarah James, cabinet member for Adults and Health, said she is pleased with the “positive outcome” of the long-running case, adding that Haringey Council is “committed” to ensuring that all home care workers receive fair pay for their “valuable work”.
“We are working closely with Unison to ensure the payment of the London Living Wage (LLW) to home care workers in Haringey,” she added.
“We have committed £4.4m to the implementation of new contracts that will ensure that every home care worker in Haringey receives the LLW, and are also working to implement the Ethical Care Charter, which we signed in 2017.
“The council will continue to work closely with all current care providers operating in Haringey to ensure that essential home care workers are treated fairly and that we don’t see a recurrence of this historic practice.”
The care workers involved in the case have been awarded an average of £10,000 each – in the range is from £850 to £17,000 – in back pay.
Haringey Council said it believes the ruling will affect the interpretation of the law on these issues and is therefore “potentially significant” for care providers, councils and the NHS, as well as for people who fund their own care or have a direct payment.
A council spokesperson said: “The council is clear that, as per the contractual terms, providers of care are responsible for meeting all statutory requirements, including payment of minimum wages, and takes very seriously any breach of contractual terms.”