Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

Please can you tell me what rule or law it is that council use to allow them to deduct travel time payments from home carers who do not meet their contract hours even though this is through no fault of their own and simply down to the fact the council do not have the work to fill this contract. Also do the council deem this lawful and fair to do to hard working employees?

Yours faithfully,

Marc Nicholson

Dumfries and Galloway Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002

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FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

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Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

20 days are now up. Please respond asap.

Yours faithfully,

Marc Nicholson

Dumfries and Galloway Council

Please find below the Council's response to your request 416866 which was received on 11/06/2019.

Details of request: Please can you tell me what rule or law it is that council use to allow them to deduct travel time payments from home carers who do not meet their contract hours even though this is through no fault of their own and simply down to the fact the council do not have the work to fill this contract. Also do the council deem this lawful and fair to do to hard working employees?

Response:

The agreement in place is a long standing local agreement that the Trade Unions are aware of and agreed to. Due to the variable nature of Care at Home work there can be some occasions when staff would not meet their contracted hours from contact time alone and therefore it was agreed that up to half of any travel time accrued could be used to be offset against shortfall. It is not an agreement that is easily manageable and is currently being phased out by the service with traveltime being included in contracts, an evaluation is currently being done to evidence viability and affordability. This will lead to revised payroll and scheduling processes etc and is a significant piece of work. In the current structure if traveltime was not used against those under contract then the service would become very expensive and potentially unaffordable, paying monies for staff to do no work. The revised way of working will make the service more efficient and cost effective. It is worth noting that many private providers offer zero percent contracts to help counteract the variable nature of Care at Home and this is something the council and indeed CASS would not introduce.

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Kind Regards

FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

This email, from Dumfries and Galloway Council, and any files transmitted with it, is confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment) please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies. If you are not the intended recipient or responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, disclosure, review, dissemination, distribution or reproduction of this email is strictly prohibited. Please be aware that communication by internet email is not secure as messages can be intercepted and read by someone else. Dumfries and Galloway Council do not accept liability for any loss or damage which may result from this email or any files attached. It is your responsibility to scan this email and any attachments for computer viruses or other defects.

Any email including its content may be monitored and used by the Council for reasons of security and form monitoring internal compliance with the policy on staff use. Email monitoring or blocking software may also be used.

Any email message sent or received by the Council may require to be disclosed by the Council under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. For further information and to view the Council’s privacy statement please go to https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/privacy

Susan Murray left an annotation ()

The council rely on their contention that this practice is known by Trade Unions who agreed to this. They do not state which union exactly, or precisely what was agreed. You could ask them to supply written corroboration of this and when this was agreed allegedly. It is all a bit vague for my liking.

It would be worth seeking legal advice as I am doubtful this is lawful. In the event it reduced the overall pay received to below that of the minimum wage, then it wouldn't be lawful.

The council can afford to pay vast amounts of money for DG1 and other concerns which have been in need of repair etc due the contractor failures. The Council Tax Payers have to foot the huge bills for these. Then there are the very generous expenses paid to councillors. The priorities are all wrong.

John Golding left an annotation ()

I suggest you contact HMRC who monitor such practices. They are responsible for pursuing employers who fail to pay the minimum wage and have powers to remedy matters.

John Golding left an annotation ()

I note that you did ask for the, "rule, or law" which permits them to do this. They haven't provided this, so you can ask for an Internal Review which states their statutory authority for these deductions.