Questions and answers for employees about In-Between travel payments

The Ministry of Health worked with many interested parties in designing the In-Between travel (IBT) system and its introduction. We continue to work with employers, unions, and others to ensure the system is working well.

This guidance is for the use of employees.

On this page:

What does this mean for me as an employee?

IBT sets out how employees will be compensated for travel spent between seeing clients.

The legislation sets out the detail needed to put that into effect – including the mileage rate, qualifying distance, qualifying time and maximum travel distance.

The legislation is intended as a 'one stop shop' where employers can check their obligations and employees can check their entitlements. It also extinguishes retrospective and future claims and limits the liability of employers to specific travel payments.

How is travel time calculated?

The average travel time for support workers is calculated at 8.5 minutes.

The travel time includes an allowance for time from your car to the door of the client’s home.

The average distance travelled for support workers in calculated at 3.7 km. This is multiplied by the approved mileage rate per km.

How were these average times calculated?

Data was collated for support worker actual travel time and distances. This data showed that the majority of support worker visits were less than 5 km. Based on the information provided, the parties agreed on a one band model based on average journeys, that was simple and easy to administer. The calculations are based on averages that are specified in the legislation.

IBT includes payment for travel time, distance and Exceptional Travel.

How does the IBT system work out my payment?

The legislation and guidance to your employer sets out:

  • the mileage rate
  • the method for calculating or basis for ascertaining a home support worker’s qualifying distance and qualifying travel time
  • the maximum distance travelled to a client before travel is treated as exceptional travel.

What is exceptional travel?

Under IBT, exceptional travel is travel that exceeds 15 km one way to a client (from either the employee's normal place of residence for the first visit, or for subsequent visits, the location of the last client). Exceptional travel will be paid where no other home support worker is available who can meet the specific needs of the client. Your employer will let you know if you need to log or report your exceptional travel.

Exceptional travel is paid when:

  • you are required to travel a distance in excess of 15 km and 
  • there is no other employee available who can meet the specific needs for the client 

You will be paid for the actual distance and time spent travelling. This applies to:

  • first visits each day
  • travel home from last visit each day
  • in-between clients throughout the day.

The IBT settlement specifies the band for distance travelled and a mileage payment. Exceptional travel is paid after the banded range has been exceeded.

Will I be paid exceptional travel for the first visit of each day, travel home of each day, and in-between travel throughout the day?

Yes, but only for distances greater than 15 km where there is no other employee available who can meet the specific needs of the client. For distances 15 km and under (standard travel), eligible IBT payments will be made.

If I am providing care for one client for two hours, do I get paid a travel allowance for the second hour?

Not if the second hour is continuous with the first hour and doesn’t require a second separate visit.  The payments are to compensate for travel time and costs between clients. Your normal hourly rate is paid for time with clients which does not include currently hourly payments for travel costs. The standard or Exceptional Travel payments replace any travel allowance that has been paid previously.

I travel to the same client more than once a day, do I get paid for both trips?

Yes, provided it is not the first client of the day (except where the first client of the day is an ACC client), and each visit is logged as an appointment in your roster.

What about travel during peak traffic, poor roads, the time it takes to find a park, and time taken to get from my car to the client’s door?

There is an amount built into the ‘time’ payment to allow for these circumstances.

I walk, bike or catch the bus to support my clients, will I get reimbursed IBT?

Yes, you will be paid in the same way as everyone else. For exceptional travel you will be paid as if you were driving in-between clients.

What can I do if I disagree with my payment?

You should speak to your employer in the first instance. If you need to take matters further, you can use the dispute resolution provisions of the Employment Relations Act. You may wish to seek union, or other employment relations, advice at this point.

What if I’m financially disadvantaged?

It is important to note that the legislation states that no employee employed prior to the Interim Solution that started on 1 July 2015 will be financially disadvantaged by the change to the payment system. If your entitlement for travel time and costs is less overall under the new system than it was prior to the interim solution, you will be compensated to make sure you are not disadvantaged. The comparison is taken from the pay period prior to 1 July 2015 (no other time period applies) and the pay period following implementation of the new system.

Do I have to keep a log for travel?

Only for trips that are for exceptional travel and if your employer doesn’t have systems to collect the time and distance for these trips. Even a travel log isn't required, it may be useful to keep one initially.

What about payments for visiting clients who are receiving ACC support?

ACC, while not a party to the IBT settlement, agreed to enter into similar arrangements in respect of the home and community-based support services that it funds.

Payment under ACC will be paid in the same way as IBT funding. ACC will continue to fund for first visits each day.

What about the ACC rule about the shorter distance payment from either my home or branch – is that still valid?

From 1 July 2017 you will always be paid from your home.

Will there be future changes to IBT?

We expect there may be adjustments to reflect what happens with IBT once it is in full operation in the sector.

For that reason, there will be ongoing engagement with the settlement parties and other key interested groups and our guidance will be updated where appropriate.

The legislation provides for an annual review of the IBT schedule of payments.

Is it correct that the Home and Community Support workforce is under review?

As part of the settlement, the Ministry has committed to review a possible move to a regularised workforce for HCS. This work is ongoing.

Where do I go for further information?

The In-between travel page will be updated as necessary.

What happens next?

A monitoring group has been set up with representatives from Unions, Providers, Health New Zealand, ACC and the Ministry to look at a range of issues going forward, including increasing the minimum mileage rates, the impact the wage increases have had, and financial disadvantage for support workers.

Payment examples

All examples are relevant to ACC, Health New Zealand’s clients. Examples use the calculation for a support worker on the L0 pay band.

Standard Travel (No Exceptional Travel): From home to Client A (4km) $0.00. Note: ACC will pay for this first visit. From client A to client B (10kms) $5.54. From Client B to Client C (5km) $5.54. From Client C to home (3km) $0.00.
Example 1 – Standard Travel (No Exceptional Travel)

Example 2 – Round Trip Exceptional Travel: From home to Client D (34km, 30 mins travel time) $32.84. From Client D to home (34km, 32 mins travel time) $33.58.
Example 2 – Round Trip Exceptional Travel

Example 3 – Standard Travel and Exceptional Travel: From home to Client E (4km) $0.00 Note: ACC will pay for this first visit. From Client E to Client F (16km, 30 mins travel time) $21.41. From client F to Client G (5km) $5.54. From Client G to home (21km, 25 mins travel time) $22.71.
Example 3 – Standard Travel and Exceptional Travel

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