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Union challenges non-payment of travel time for home workers

Union challenges non-payment of travel time for home support workers
One year after winning the historic case for payment of sleepovers for disability support workers, the Service and Food Workers Union has filed another landmark case.
Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary John Ryall said SFWU filed a test case with the Employment Relations Authority on Friday to begin the legal fight for home support workers to be paid travel time.
“We believe that a serious injustice has existed for a long time and it must be remedied,” he said. “We believe it is illegal for organisations employing home support workers not to pay them at least the minimum wage for the time they spend travelling between clients.”
John Ryall said the union has asked for the Employment Relations Authority to send the case to the Employment Court.
The union has filed the case in the name of Wellington member, Tamara Baddeley.
“Tamara, and thousands of other home support workers, get paid for the time they spend at a client’s house, but not all the time they spends driving from client to client,” he said. “They are paid an allowance for mileage, but nothing for the considerable time spend traveling.
“This is serious injustice for workers doing an important and challenging job and who are already very low paid.” 
The Human Rights Commission Equal Opportunity Commissioner, Judy McGregor, has backed the claim and the commission has sought a legal opinion from Wellington law firm Russel McVeagh.
The Russel McVeagh opinion concludes that there is a good argument that the travel time between clients constitutes work under the Minimum Wage Act and a test case would have a reasonable change of success.

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