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Home care worker, poor pay and conditions

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Who could afford to work as a home carer?  Well I tried, for about six months and in the end I had to leave because I couldn't afford to stay on.  The company, a national one with council contracts really sold the job to me at my initial interview.  The pay didn't seem too bad at 7.30 an hour, plus free training (not something I would have expected to pay for, anyway) and the chance to do NVQs.  I don't drive but I do have a bike - they told me that all my clients would be in the city centre, 'within walking distance of each other'.

What they DON'T tell you at interview, is that in fact that you are only paid (by the second) for the time you are in a clients house.  You have to 'log in' (using the clients phone) and log out, when you arrive and leave.  If you log out more than three minutes over the allocated time (appointments are usually for either 15 or 30 minutes)you are not paid, unless there is a good excuse - client requires paramedics for example.  And as for all my clients being in the city centre, I was all over the city because they only had TWO in the city centre.

So here's how it is.  I leave home at 6.30 am (and I DO live in the city centre); half an hour of cycling to the first client for a 15 minute call and then another half hour cycle to the next client in the city centre.  This is followed by another half hour for two more clients, both in a suburb of the city and so on... getting home at around midday, sometimes 12.30 to 1.00pm.  I will then go out again for the evening calls at 5pm, visiting the same clients for 15 minutes each all over the city.  I will usually get home at around 7.30 - 8.00 pm (four clients, 15 minutes each).

A care worker, cycling to work No pay for time spent travelling between clients...

No pay is given for the time you spend travelling between visits which works out at more than the time you spend IN the homes!  In the week before Christmas my wages were 54 for five days work.  Travelling by bicycle or car wont make any difference and the company is unable to keep it's staff because of the way it pays.  Without the staff, it cannot get the clients and so the vicious circle continues.  It also means that the quality of care is driven down.  The company cannot afford to sack staff who fail to turn up at clients houses or who are otherwise incompetent.

Whilst I was working, there was one other carer who routinely failed to keep his appointments, leaving his clients without their medication, without food or with beds unmade.(some of these clients were incontinent), yet he was not sacked.  The company did not have anyone to cover his calls and without carers, would inevitably have lost their lucrative council contract.

In the week before Christmas, this particular carer went abroad. One of his clients, an elderly muslim man with altzeimers was placed on my rota for 'personal care' which involved help with showering.  Because of his religion however, he had specified that he did not want a female carer, so when I rang the office I was told to 'take him off' and not to visit.  They continued to place him on my rota for the next month and the night before my last day they called to ask me if I had been going.  'No', I replied, 'I was told not to - he's a Muslim and he does not want a female carer.'  'Oh, that's alright', the manager said, 'He's been told to expect a female.'  So the next day, I cycled out to his home (45 mins. from the centre) only to be told when I arrived there, that he DIDN'T WANT A WOMAN!!!  This makes me an hour and three quarters late for my next client on the other side of the city, whose son has arrived to take her out and who has cancelled the call by the time I get there.  I don't get paid for either call.

So it is us, the carers, and the elderly or vulnerable who suffer whilst the profit making care agencies continue to rake in the money.  Part of the initial training involves "awareness of clients' cultural sensitivities".  If this company had any genuine regard to cultural sensitivities, it would have returned that muslim man to the council in order for them to have placed him with an agency who could have provided him with a male carer.  Instead, he was left for a month and a half with no care at all.

It's an absolute disgrace.  If there are any people out there with television or radio connections, please consider putting together a documentary about the state of home care in this country.  Elderly people, many of whom suffer from dementia and cannot speak for themselves, or who are simply ground down and resigned to missed appointments, lateness and general incompetence are suffering invisibly.  They do not want a constant flow of different carers that don't stay in the job because the pay is so bad.  It is unsettling for them and upsetting to be always on the verge of losing someone they have got used to.  My clients were extremely upset when I left and I was sad to leave them too.

Gripe over - I have a decent job now where I am paid properly.  The misery, however, continues for carers and clients right across the country and I want people to be angry about it.


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Star Ranger

I worked for a company just like this - your on a self employed basis so they have no responsibility towards min wage etc. I had to travel 30 min each way for a 15 min apt to empty someone's catheter for which I was paid £2.50 (not including any travel expenses/petrol and wear on the car etc).

They are not fussy about who they take on either if you pass the CRB your in. Some of the carers I worked with were lovely (but soon left like I did after 6 months) the hardy ones stayed and by hardy I mean rough handlers, mean comments no kindness. Some moaned in front of clients about other clients. One gave me a dressing down because I would only work new years eve and not Christmas eve in front of a client. One had mental illness diagnosed Bi-polar. Dignity was breached on many occasions. Short cuts taken where they could one would ask the clients son to use the hoist as she had a bad back (everytime). There was a lot of bullying and not a nice atmosphere at all. I reported many incidents of lack of dignity to the care provide including one where I was under supervision of a supervisor - looking after a paralysed lady the supervisor changed the ladies incontinence pad and explained what she saw in a very loud voice "oh what have you been eating - gosh pooh stinky" when I went on my own later that week the lady cried and told me how embarrassed she was. I explained to the care provider and was told not to worry she is very emotional. There was a man who had Autism/Break down and was kept in a room in a basement he had a window out of which was a wall you could touch no view. Carpet soaking in wee and the rest of the home seemed to be for drunken alcoholics. When I asked if he got out I was told to mind my business and a complaint put into my care agency I wasn't sent again. The system stinks and I hope I don't need it when I am older. However having x2 children with special needs I am very scared for them. There are good carers I like to think I went out of my way to help but then you have no gurantee. Things need to change. The company I worked for also does insurance for the over 50's.
24th Sep 15 04:09

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Min wage 4 care workers

Last Summer a care company was ordered to pay £600,000 to its employees because it had failed to pay them the minimum wage. I wonder which company it was and I wonder if it is still getting council contracts.
4th Feb 15 01:02

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Helen

I did this work for not even a full day. It was a shadowing day and I didn't compete the training either. After my one day shadowing I was disgusted by the worker who said I should have left an elderly woman with dementia and mental health problems who forgets to eat because she, the worker, turned up an hour after the allocated visit time for the woman to have lunch. So I did it because I was 10 minutes late myself thinking the worker was inside. After talking to people who also work in the same area as myself this was the case for all of them by the staff. Not to the extreme of leaving but with lateness, rudeness and realising that you'll be paid for 5 hours instead of the full 9 hours you'll be working for. And after taking to service users they're fed up of shoddy service. Seriously find an agency that will pay what they're suppose to and always find out what others think. Really interviews and shadowing days are for you to also find out if that agency is for you and just not what works for them.
25th Aug 14 10:08

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wackie jackie

I have recently left working for an agency in Lincolnshire, they treat the staff disgracefully.. its all down to money, quote "you don't get paid if she dies, so staff will go".. disgusting company that lets people go just before 2 years of working for them so they cant take them to court...
27th Jul 14 05:07

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Chris 2

All the comments on this gripe about home care workers just shows how little the government value the elderly in this country. They worked, they paid their taxes and national insurance and now they are just regarded as nuisances.

If they were valued more then those who look after them would be paid a decent wage and not be ripped off with extra charges and unreasonable demands.
22nd Jul 14 06:07

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selina

Most home care work is agency, that's how they get away with it. I worked ten years in home care for three different agencys. It was the same story for each company. I now work in a care home. I'm on min wage and responsible for staff and residents as well as the medication. Care workers aren't paid well its a disgrace when we are responsible for so much
16th Jul 14 03:07

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chantelle

I quit my job as a home carer 5 weeks ago. I was lucky to have a round near where i lived. But i did not drive and after quitting and going back to this company i told them straight, i was not willing to work 6.45 till 13.00 and back at 14.45 till 21.15.

The office staff were my biggest problem. I thought the world of my clients. They knew me and liked me going to them. But the office staff were full of attitude. Carers join and are told they can have the hours they want, but they left after a week because they either get hardly any ir they get bombarded. There were times when theyd take on a client half an hour walk away, id be given ten mins to get there. I used to explain it was too far and i was earning about £3 for the effort.

The office used to put new clients on my rota and not even phone to let you know if the client has a key safe or if there pallative or if they are aggressive.

I had 7 hours a day not including 3 hours walking. I told the office that was plenty for me. Working 6.45 till 1.15 then 4.45 till 9. Tgey failed to listen and by the tine i walked out i was up to 9 hours a day plus 3 hours walking. They put a shopping call on me aswel so one day id be working 6.30-2.30 then back at 4.30 till 10.00.

Now for the rubbish wage. The lack if appreciation and communication, who can blame carers for quitting. The sad thing is i cared about my 7 clients. I looked after them most days. I will miss chatting to them why there lunch was cooking. There stories and learning about there lives. I feel sad i have left them and now they have different carers going in.

These people are in there last years of life. We are sometimes all they have most carers want to do there job and keep this connection but sadly we are pushed to give up. Care companies should be inspected. Calls to staff should be recorded and random checks should be carried out.

Carers deserve more respect. We are out there in rain and hot days, snow and ice to help people. We can not eat out tea at a normal tume. We grab what we can. We dont get time with our family at night. We work weekends. We get harrased on our days off. We get attitude and no support from our managers. We get paid rubbish amounts of money. We gave to buy our own uniforms. We have to travel to get our own gloves. We have to beg for gloves aswel! Print of our own rotas and take them in. Get no travel pay. There is room for alot of change!!!
7th Jul 14 11:07

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Toni

I guess I am just going to echo what many many have already posted on here. Conditions, pay and overall care worker treatment is shockingly poor but what's just as bad is this in then reflected in the standard of care provision. As a Supervisor for a Home Care Company for over 8 years, it's becoming apparent to me change is long long overdue. Will it happen? As long as people at the top of the chain are making money, I think not!! I can't wait yo retire, I hear daily the challenges and issues of our team of (very dedicated) home carers, who in all honestly just want what every other working individual wants - a fair days pay for a fair days work. I feel so powerless to help or support carers who are at the end of there tether through sheer frustration or because they can no longer afford to work, yes you heard it right " they simply cannot afford to work in this industry". I have become disillusioned and as I said can't wait to retire. It's simply appalling conditions - I am sooo sick of hearing the same BS from the people at the top who are responsible for care in the country but yet year after year, nothing changes. For those who have never worked within the Homecare sector (and care homes) they would be totally shocked and appalled at how many many private home care companies are run, how they treat staff, staff conditions (or lack of) lack of local government interest, the whole "money game" tendering business.. It's a shambles. Carers are the main target when anything goes wrong.. The bottom of the pit, undervalued and looked upon by the majority of the public as "something they have just stood in" .. YET.. It is these very people who (me included and the thousands throughout the UK) who subsidise and keep the home care system afloat.
Let's Imagine for just a moment... What would happen if tomorrow morning not one carer decided to turn up for another rewarding day at the office ? ...... It would be chaos and although in theory that may never happen, just remember as carers leave in droves and staff turnover increases (and young people avoiding a care career like a plague) ... What does the future hold for Care In Our Community?? For the sake of your families and your own future care, make it a major issue with your local MPs and all the individuals who influence decisions surrounding Healthcare in the UK - demand a better "care focused" (not money focused) homecare or care home service. No one listens to one voice, but many voices speak so much louder ..
2nd Jul 14 08:07

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Jeni

In the interview I was told that I was guarteed full-time hours. Then just before I started I got hold of the contract to sign, which was a zero hour contract! They also told me in the interview that I would get my rota a month prior. Wrong again! I recieve my rota every Friday via post, which only tells me what I'm working for the next week. This means I do not know what im working next week lets say. This means I have no control over my life. The company also calls me up most days asking me to cancel this visit, or add in this visit or just change my entire schedule for the day and give me a whole set of new ones. I am also a walker and I am not paid inbetween each call, and the company never mentioned this in the interview. for example yesterday I worked from 6.50am - 11am and then form 2.50pm - 7.15pm. So I should have been paid around 9 hours pay but I actually only got 6 hours pay, which means I lost out on 3 hours in travelling time worth of pay. Lastly in my contract it states that I would have to pay a sum of £100 if I left the company within my 6 months probation period! Rant over
7th Jun 14 02:06

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kittykath

I was working for a healthcare agency and thought the pay was so bad that our workers were the only ones affected. Like a lot of former careworkers, I can't contemplate going back after maternity leave because I can't afford to subsidise their business by paying for the petrol use partly out of money I need to feed my children, especially given the fact that I was sent long distances for visits. Add to that the fact that half the time I was working wasn't even paid because travel time is excluded and the fact that wear and tear on my car was more frequent. We were paid just 20p per mile in petrol expenses - this is a THIRD of what council careworkers were getting, at a time when petrol prices were half what they are now. When care was managed by councils, expenses staff were paid covered all their petrol for work, all the wear and tear on their vehicles, the hourly rate was better AND they were paid for travel time. As a result, it was difficult to get a job with them. Now there is a high staff turnover and bad carers who should be sacked but who employers can't afford to sack because of lack of staff - pay cheap money and expect cheap quality. Also expect to be harassed out of hours to do another shift on top of working the last 10 hours without a break, and the agency don't care if you've got a family to look after or if it causes tensions. Getting so much as a day's holiday is also a struggle, requiring a month's notice. Again, because of lack of staff. So what staff there are throw sickies, which puts an unbearable strain on those that are left to cover. Also, a lot of agencies so-say have a system of bank work, so inevitably workers will choose to work social hours, leaving huge staff shortages at weekends and on evenings. If all that isn't bad enough, don't make the mistake of being a live-in carer. I took on a visit that involved working with a live-in carer from another agency. She told me that when she was due to finish her week as a live-in, the agency couldn't find a carer to replace her. She ended up staying at the client's house for TWO MONTHS without a day or indeed ANY time off. She collapsed with exhaustion in front of the client one day, vomiting and was even told by her employer she had to stay while they found a replacement, even though she was in dire need of medical attention herself. This is happening all over the country. Only when care is serviced by workers employed directly by councils, they are paid in full for their petrol and wear-and-tear expenses and their travel time will the problem of care staffing problems be resolved.
17th Apr 14 05:04

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lulu

I have worked in homecare for nearly 10 years and it is getting to the point where i can no longer afford to do the job, i use my car for work and sometimes do over 100 miles of travelling at weekends and many more during the week, it costs me £160 a month in petrol but also there is also the cost of maintaining a car. Recently 7 healthcare assistants left the company because the could not afford the petrol, that is half our care staff. Its ridiculous, its becoming a joke. I think it is about time someone stood up to these unscrupulous employers and make them pay a decent allowance to their employees!!!!!!!!
31st Mar 14 01:03

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Jen

I walked out on my job as a carer this morning. I started working for the company a week ago. I requested part time hours - yesterday, I was booked to work from 7am until 11pm without a break. That is a whole 16 hours, of which I will be paid for 7 hours work. Absolutely disgraceful! I was called over and over during the day and requested to "squeeze in" more clients. Where on earth was I supposed to squeeze them in??? It is little wonder there are so many awful carers out there. They simply haven't the time nor the motivation to do the job well.
16th Feb 14 02:02

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mystery

Care Work is rewarding Job Leonard Cheshire Pay Staff £6.32 Min Wage a Hour, Expect you to Work Long Days 7:30am Till 9:30pm 13 Hour Shifts, Also They Charge you £54.00 For A Criminal Records Bureau Check Why Should Staff Have to Pay for That. They Do Not Mention That to After The Interview. you are contract of 32.5 hours but get 3 week rotas no regular pattern would not no what was working on the fourth week to much change.

they need to value the service users more by valuing the staff in particular not charging the CRB Check to Staff,
they Also seem to be promoting being a leading provider are you really though,

can not wear Jeans For Work But can wear Tracksuit Bottoms don't see the reason in that, I would think wearing jeans was more professional.

got to say after induction pay stays the same no rise like other companies normally offer extra after induction,

the Job Pays Less then the local supermarket when lot more responsibility with changing leg bags, providing continence care, showering, bathing, toileting.

there needs to be a more focused approach more support for service users like having the time to spend with them rather then rushing to another room in the setting. most of these service users have no friends and family been able to run things would help

when the setting charges a fortune £20 an hour for hydrotherapy and managers salarly starts at £39.500 when cares on £7,000 but take off tax national insurance bus fare but £5,000 a year not much difference if not working.
10th Feb 14 03:02

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Matt

I have worked in the industry for over 10 years both as a home carer and also as the registered manager of an agency. This is a really depressing article because it is so true, i have met dozens of home care workers who all echo the issues highlighted in this article. Social care and in particular the home care industry has been badly hit by competitive tendering for contracts to provide care services for local councils. In my experience councils will always opt for the cheapest tender which is often around half the price it would cost the council to provide the same service if it employed its own carer workforce. This means that independent home care providers will typically look at cutting costs such as not paying staff travel time or travel expenses and any other work related benefits. what this effectively means is home carers are actually receiving well below the minimum wage as they are only paid for hours in the clients home and not the 2-3 hours travelling they will often be having to do every day. Another favorite of agencies is the zero hour contract which means that if the work is not there then they do not have to pay their employee, it creates a situation where carers feel obliged to say yes to any offer of work they receive as they feel such job insecurity. Free training is offered by most of the home care agencies i know as an incentive to attract staff; however this is a joke as providing this training is a legal obligation anyway for the home care agency. With all this going on is it really such a surprise that staff retention figures are so low in the social care industry and that stories of horrific abuse emerge from time to time from this sector? My feeling is nothing is going to change very soon in this industry, politicians as well as local councils will continue to give clever soundbites to the media about improving care whilst continuing to bury their heads in the sand about the huge and difficult issues facing social care in this country.
13th Jan 14 05:01

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robo

i have worked as a home carer for 16 yrs, just walked out of my job after a break down. it breaks my heart to read stories and i get so angry!! i worked with one carer who drove me about drunk!! i refused to get in the car most days and when i reported this nothing was done !!!! cannot sack a driver !!!! i also worked with another carer who had only just passed her driving test, the poor girl ended up driving the wrong way up a road, we had traffic hurtling towards us!!! i was a senior carer and got stuck in with carers helped them as much as i could and shared my passion for this job.
the pay was sad £7 an hour and like most on here no pay for travelling.
i never wanted a mega wage just fair pay for the job i do. i was used by my employer calling on me to sort things out and train new carers all the time for no extra pay. i was forced to leave my flat and moved back home to family, i could not live on my wage. desperately searching for a good company that actually cares for the people they employ and the elderly
22nd Dec 13 03:12

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toomuchtravelling

What really hacks me off is not paying carers travel time. We are still working when we are walking/biking and driving from client to client. We can do 4 hours biking in one day just going from place to place. Minimum wage is not being paid to carers. There are few care companies that pay travel time. Its not fair on us at all. Midwives, nurses doctors social workers etc all work out in the community. I bet they get paid. I think the reason i get so angry is my 6 hours are spread out between 6.45am and 9.15 at night and i have no time to pop home for longer than an hour in between lunches and teas. I cant eat proper food cus ya lucky to grab toast on ya break. I love the job side and im a good carer but im always unhappy with how much is put on me. I really think the government should change this so all carers are paid from the start of there first call till there last wed have alot less to moan about if w got a decent wage
17th Dec 13 03:12

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Liz

I've worked in home care for a few months now and I'm not criticising the experiences of the writer, but it is fair to the industry to say that you will have a tough time if you're not a driver. Also, some companies you wouldn't touch with a barge pole and obviously you make it your business to find out the reputation of a care provider before you apply for a job. I'd say this company was exceptionally bad, particualrly concerning the treatment of the muslim gentleman and it must not be forgotten that clients can of course change providers if they aren't happy with the service.

It should also be noted that it is an extremely tough and demanding job. Quite often you're required to deal with misconceptions and a degree of discrimination before you even begin any caring duties. This is garned through the bias in publications by our media which, of course favours bad news over good. It makes relations between the client and yourself quite awkward and I know this to be true because it has taken me usually a few weeks before I've been able to gain a clients trust, at least enough to have more open communication with them. This is imperative in this sort of work because caring is a lot more than what the actual care plan tells you to do.
5th Dec 13 06:12

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Mark Piggott

Hello,
I'm writing an article on thsi subject - would anyone be interested in sharing their story with me?
Thanks
Mark Piggott
4th Dec 13 01:12

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Nick

Why not just stop working as a domestic care worker and simply recruit more Philippinos to do the job? Problem solved.
15th Nov 13 11:11

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fed up

I also worked for an agency for l6 years. It was nothing but a pain in the rear end. I could write a book as you all can as well. I decided to venture out on my own and its much better. You pick and choose your own clients, deal with the client and family only and make more money doing it. I thought Home Care would improve over the years, but it hasn't. It's only gone backwards. The agencies are only out for the almightly dollar, while we carers do it for the love of the clients, but you cannot make a living working for an agency. If you figure it out, you would make more money working at a hamburger joint.
14th Nov 13 06:11

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wildcat

I'm from Canada and work as a Personal Support Worker for a well known agency. Our visits are never less than an hour in length, and we are paid mileage. If all our clients are in the city/town then the mileage rate is lower. If they're in the country/outskirts then we are paid much more. We also have what is called 'respite' which is a great gig because you visit for 4+ hrs. for one client. Lots of travel by car, and mostly a.m and p.m visits. Some overnights. The pay is not quite as much as working in a large facility but the stress level is way down. All in all it's good.
5th Nov 13 10:11

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Nick

There are plenty of domestic workers in Asia e.g. the Philippines, etc. who desparately want to come to work in the UK for minimum wage. However, the Border Agency wouldn't allow them to come, why? And by the way may I also point out that the UK are taking in thousands of asylum seekers and refugees who do nothing but pop out sprogs and live on benefits.
31st Oct 13 09:10

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EliteChoiceHomeCare Sussex

Reading this has just reinforced the fact that all my efforts in the past year have been well worth it. I have set up a new home care company with the philosophy that if I treat my carers well, my clients will get top quality care. So we are paying £8.50 an hour, reimbursing mileage between clients, paying travel time between clients, free uniform, DBS check paid for and quality training and supervision. Yes we won't be the cheapest but I want to show the domiciliary care sector that its about time these shocking practices are addressed and that with careful planning and management it is entirely possible to run a successful company that gives excellent care without exploiting its employees! I take my hat off to all you Carers that have to put up with this and do so because you care about the people you look after. I also totally understand why people stop doing care work as its not financially viable. Lets hope the message catches on!!!
30th Oct 13 10:10

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sickofit

The news last night was talking about fifteen minuite calls being hopefully banned. thats great but how about the rest of it. I work for a company that im guessing people have had bad experiences with. when my mum tells people who i work for they say.. i would not work for them. i am hoping for a miracle... i hope somewhere will soon take me on elsewear. i start work at 6.30. Im a walker. they cross over all my lunch calls. there constantly ringing me on my days off making me feel guilty as my back to back partner is off every other week sick or going away. I get spoken to like rubbish by the office staff. they dont even know if people are home that have been taken to hospital so you have to walk and check. they dont pay travel. ive rung up three times about my tunic and asked for a new one. they simply keep forgetring so im working in a grubby oversized top. they change your rota every other day so your constantly printing stuff out. on call did not pick up last night or ring me back. not getting paid travel time means im out the house 10 hours and get paid for six. all things in this department need looking at. the staff will keep leaving as who wants to do a job like this and earn 1.60 every 15 minuites.
8th Oct 13 07:10

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Gabbladictum

There are too many outfits around exploiting people. Personally I'd rather be poor and destitute than work for scum for 3-4 quid an hour, which is what some jobs work out at.
19th Sep 13 11:09

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angrygirl

Fuming!!!!! Last week i was made to walk 2 and a half miles to a cleaning job. i was cleaning from top to bottom of this house to then get a taxi home as it was too far. i made six quid for that effort. i phoned the office to explain it was to far and as a walker i.could not do ot. today the office put it on tomos rota after my breakfasy calls. they gave me ten mins to walk ot!!!!! I rung up explaining it was too far but if they cud pay for a taxi id do it. they instead snapped at me and told me to forget it. i am currently in tears and looking for another job.... bastards!!!!!
19th Sep 13 04:09

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heidi

Maybee these comments should be sent to the prime minister!!
18th Sep 13 09:09

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Petra

Sorry. Posted too quickly. I meant I feel a lot of anger on behalf of care workers and those they care for.
17th Sep 13 07:09

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Petra

Reading all the experiences of care workers here and also knowing a single mum who tried to earn a little money doing this part time, I feel a lot of anger the care workers and the people they look after.

The low pay and the other ways in which care workers are exploited just illustrates how little successive governments care about the elderly, ill and disabled, and those who look after them
17th Sep 13 07:09

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larni

I know how you feel. walking 30 mins do a fifteen minuite call then walk 20 mins to next call.

The company i work for make u buy ur own tunics. they make u travel 35 miles to the office for reviews every 3 months despite the fact u dont drive. they dont pay ur travel. u tell them things such as jog bloggs is on holiday next week and they do not bother taking them off the rota. They take on tons of new staff yet nobody seems set in one place.

i get paid 6.30 an hour. they recently sent me 2 miles to do a two hour cleaning job on my day off. by the time id paid my taxi i had cleaned that house for free!!!

No wander people do not stay. it could me so much better with a little more pay. looking at rotas properly so people are not rushing and out of time and also reward your staff. give carers motives to work there days off. this country is falling apart job wise and its a shame. theres no work available so people who get jobs are paid little. to me we keep people alive.

When you go in and people are ill we clean them up, call the dr. when people run out of food we make sure its sorted. we look after people with cancer or people who have had strokes. we look after people who have no family left. we want to care. it needs sorting. it needs reconising. some things r close to illegal
17th Sep 13 07:09

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Summer12

I am too in the same situation. I get given clients across the area I live which live no where near each other and am given 5 mins to travel or IRS to the extreme of 1hr30min inbetween calls. This wed I am out of the house for nearly 5 hrs and getting payed for 2 and half it's a joke. I feel fed up :(
16th Sep 13 08:09

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-19

workersalwaysworseof

I have been working in care since june. i paid 54 for my crb. i get constant phone calls. i cant even go to morrisons without a phone call or voice mail from office. if u could enjoy your day off that uve worked hard to get to or go out to do 30 mins work and 40 mins walking for 3.25 what would you choose??? When i first started i said yes to everything. now i have to say no because my life is becoming unhappy. i feel i can never get away and close my mind of it. i care alot for the people i care for. they are constantly taking on new people but they never stop nagging me.

I do care but i am also 24 with a partner, a house and friends that i never see. i need a life aswel. they take up 2 full weekends a month as it is without wanting me on the others where i get to see my bf for a few hours. its a shame because im a hard worker and i care. if the money was better id be more willing. There loosing good people and hard workers because we r being treated like charity workers on call 24/7
16th Sep 13 07:09

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-14

Anonymous

I have been reading all the stories from home carers and hate to say that in the 13 years that I have been one unfortunately nothing has changed, my weekly amount of hours is roughly 35 but after travelling by car adds up to around 50 hours I do not get paid for travel time and find a lot of my time spent sitting about in my car waiting to visit my next client due to being to far away from home to wait! Also due to the readiness of companies to take on as many new staff as possible usual results in a large turn over of staff leaving within the first week of work as they are not fully prepared for the job and expect to have regular hours which is quoted by the management which then results in the likes of myself having to cover the work but not getting paid any better for it. I love my job and my clients also the difficult ones but although care for someone in their own and maintaining their independence for as long as possible.

Although being a home carers is an extremely rewarding job we are still at the bottom of the food chain of getting recognition and better pay I don't see why a bin man gets paid at least £7.50 and a max for a Carer is £7.85 no disrespect to bin men but where's the fairness in that. There should be a reform on the pay scale that we receive.
16th Sep 13 06:09

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-19

boblet

I once had a news agents I also once had a small repair garage. All self employed people involved in such small enterprises work for buttons per hour. If you have such a thing as a small paper shop or one man band garage near you, ask them how much they earn per hour don’t take my word for it.
16th Sep 13 12:09

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-21

honorjayde

So true it felt like i had wrote this. i am out the house for 11 hours a day to get paid for about 7. If your five mins longer at the call you dont get that five mins pay. u have to go over by 10 mins. aloso they give me five minuites walking time even if its a fifteen minuite walk. in some cases im given 0 mins to walk to my next job. I can never stay with.some clients for the full amount of time as id be too late to the next job as they give me five mins to walk somewhere. this weekend i was up and down and by saturday night i just wanted to cry. id been on my feet eleven hours for 6 hours pay. i really care for the seven clients im responsible for but the lack of money means im job hunting after just ten weeks. they ring me on my days off wanting me to nip out and do missed calls to earn about 2 quid. they even trik u saying somewhere is closer than it is.
16th Sep 13 08:09

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-18

Smurf

I also work for a private care company and totally agree with what you are saying. The carers are on the front line every single day and do not always know what they are walking into. It can be a dangerous job. I have also been a field care supervisor and made it my point to 'stick up' for the carers as well as the clients. Clients are not always in the right and the carers are not always in the wrong. I think it's important that that should be noted. We work for £6.50 an hour, it's ridiculous and all because the government will not recognise HOME CARE as a profession!!!!! We don more than District Nurses half the time, who treat us like dirt and their personal skivvy's to put out their rubbish etc. I love my job but the government should pay the carers properly and they should make the owners and the management treat the carers properly. The are treated very, very poorly. It's very much a 'them and us' attitude and it usually comes from the office staff who seem the think they are the 'elite' of the company. WITHOUT HOME CARERS PEOPLE WOULD HAVE TO GO INTO CARE HOMES, RESIDENTIAL HOMES, HOSPITAL OR MOVE IN WITH THEIR FAMILIES. Treat us with the respect we deserve, treat us properly and PAY US PROPERLY AND WHAT WE ARE WORTH
27th Aug 13 06:08

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-11

Fed up of shitty saga

I'm working for saga, stone bridge branch and hate it, I work 5 days a week I leave at 8.30 and home for 5 and my hours I'm paid for is a total of 8 for the whole week, it's my 3rd week and I haven't been paid despite being told I get paid weekly, I've been told by other staff it will end up being monthly, I've seen some bad, unsafe practise and I'm just fed up, everyone in the office are crap at their job and this company should be closed down by the QCC, even the service users complain about the company but don't want to see me go. I have no choice but to find another job as I'm also paying a ridiculous amount for travel
24th Aug 13 10:08

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-14

linda

Something should be done about domiciliary care companies I have heard shocking reports concerning some of the larger companies the way they treat their clients and carers is appauling. carers on zero hours contracts either getting no work or working from 6.30 in the morning until 11 at night and on their day off from work the company is badgering them to go in...this is a form of abuse and should be stopped. I think in the next year or so we are going to see alot in the media about this problem it is all coming to light and should be investigated and put an end to for the sake of the hard done by clients and carers
9th Aug 13 06:08

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-7

Tiredmanager

As the registered manager of a small domiciliary home care company I try to do the best for my staff and clients alike. We pay our staff between £7.00/hr (for long shift, single venue, supported living) and £8.65 (for weekend domiciliary care). We also pay 45p per mile between clients, free uniform, training, NVQ/QCF and are very accommodating of staff time off requests (the Managing Director and I cover the shifts!). We have to run an office and all admin backup as well as retain professional accountants and payroll staff. All of the above has to come out of what we charge our clients. With rising fuel and food costs most staff expect pay rises, but if we are unable to compete locally and attract customers because of escalating staff wages being passed on in the form of increased hourly care rates, then there will BE no company and hence no work! Most workers think that the bosses are fleecing them and making vast profits at their expense. I am sure that is true in some cases as it is in most industries. Most workers are not interested in the reasons WHY they cannot be paid more...just in the fact that they feel hard done by. I have worked on both sides of the fence so I am aware of the "thinking" involved. Whilst it may be true that some of the larger companies are profit driven at the expense of their clients and staff, I think that many small companies are trying their best to provide a safe and caring environment for their clients during a very prolonged recession. Home care by its nature is unpredictable and seldom reliable. Clients can go into hospital/respite/die even and the employer is still expected to come up with the right number of hours for each and every staff member. Clients taken on may often not be geographically convenient for care staff, but maybe they are the only hours available at the present time. Employers are often trying their best to provide their staff with the amount of work which they desire/require in order to have an adequate quality of life. Very often Managers of small care companies have no life of their own effectively being on call 24 hours a day...but we do not get paid for that.
23rd Jul 13 10:07

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-16

Trigger1987

Hi my girlfriend is a care worker and she has done this job for years with out an NVQ but now her boss has said she has to get an NVQ or she will lose her job she has started her course and dose not get paid for going to collage she has to go in her own time if she was to quit the corse will she lose her job ?
21st Jul 13 08:07

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-16

Pam

I am the owner of a care agency and used to be Carer myself. So i totally understand many of the comments but i need carers to understand that Until local authority start paying agency better the situation will never be improve and when the government set a decent wages that carers need to get this wont stop.We get £11:53 per hour. Only my surprise borough pay their Rehabilitation carers who is a part of the council £ £15:00 per who gets to spend an hour with each client and they are not allow to assist as it is "rehabilitation" the and our calls are never 1 hour all the calls are 30mins slots. However we pay our carers £7:00 + 0.25 per for mileage and from that remaining we have to pay Rent,manager wages, admin wages, co ordinator wages phone bill, liability insurance, software subscription, stationary,training,recruitment. With so much over head we can't increase our carers wages. As agency we support our Carers to give them consistent hours and continuity with clients we also ensure clients are located very close to each other. We also ensure we accommodate our staff as much as possible request days. As a company we do try to understand from the carers point of view and I sometimes go out and do the Carer. My strong believe if a client or family member giving trouble I gave them back up. As my carers do an amazing job.
23rd Jun 13 01:06

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-18

louisa peewee

Magalai ........
£7-9 per hour!!! I get minimum wage for working in community care and NO mileage, so quit moaning as there are a lot that are worse paid like me! I do it because I CARE!
13th May 13 08:05

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-5

Honesty is the best policy

#Magali
In response to this "carers" comments about the Helston Allied Branch, i am really dumbfounded by your comments/experience!
I have previously worked with the helston Allied branch and moved between Allied branches due to my husband being in the navy and it is by far the best care company i have worked for.
Firstly the "grilling" you talk of, is called an INTERVIEW! which im sure if someone was going to be looking after your vulnerable family member you would want them to be put through their paces. I know i certainly would, but maybe there is the difference between us.
Secondly, again Allied are known to be thorough and i know they insist on having new CRBs with each new applicant which again ensures that their clients are kept as safe as possible, remember the crb is only true from the day it is issued! And i have heard of some agencies who send out carers with no CRB, I know which agency i would prefer to be employed by, but again, that is probably the difference between you and i!
Thirdly, im very confused(even more from your comments) as i get paid for all my mileage, including to and from home!
Its sounds like you didnt take in the information given to you, and if the way you have presented yourself over your comments on this site is anything to go by, i think maybe however you were spoke to was shall i say....WELL DERSERVED!
Infact i am amazed you got through the interview.
I have had nothing but good experiences with all the Allied Branches, especially and including the Helston Branch. The girls in the office were always accommodating and helpful and the training they offer is all hands on before going out on your own and extremely insightful and FREE historically I have had to pay for training so why do you expect to be paid to attend? Are you new to care ?
Good luck finding another agency that is this thorough! In fact dont bother, and maybe think of a job that doesnt involve customer interaction!
13th May 13 02:05

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-10

de-de

I am from connecticut and tell you the truth, I never have this problem until I start working in Georgia. I been in this field for 30yrs. My first agencies georgia private my checks start bouncing over the place like a rabbit. My check was always late., than i couldnt reach them by phone or they was out of town. So after my blood pressure went up, I ask the client to change agency or I had to leave. Well because she likes the care her child was receiving and we had a good understanding, she change to a difference agency. this one Callas Vinas, Inc. Well I thought everything would be o.k(even though the pay was 50c less)Ah!MORE problem! The first two weeks no ck. When I call the office. they claim the papers work didnt come in, than it was mail out, than they said "medicare said I was getting paid and they have to check this out. (even though medicare disagree ) this went on for a month. After the six weeks, I had to say good bye to the client. As the other caregivers said that is not the client, It is these fake storefront homecare agencies that know the rules about the government. When I call labor board. They said they have to make @ $500,000 before they could go after them. Guess what they leave , close, and open in different name NO problem. I wish there was someone who could listen to the caregiver complains before we vote!!
15th Apr 13 07:04

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-10

Shortstuff

Better paid than the jobs several of us were duped into accepting... advertised as paying between £7 and £11 an hour, but actually paying £6.86 an hour and we're expected to pay our own transport costs out of that! I quit my job on the basis of promises made by this bl**dy company and it was all based on lies! The branch they hired five of us to work in isn't even open yet!

You bet I'm angry...
13th Apr 13 04:04

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-10

Dizzy

Jo

I'm a young one at 25 right? I don't and never have gone out drinking, I stay at home or go to a friends and have a beer as it's all I can handle. I wish the company I work for made two weekly rotas as it would be a lot more helpful as I get (Or supposed to get) mine on a Saturday.

I've been working here for almost eight months now and still nothing has changed, the gaps between calls are stupid and if you ring in sick or refuse to do a call that you can't or don't like doing then they dock the hours of your rota (Not that they tell us but we've heard whispers from head staff that they have done it just to spite us) Or in my case they up my hours when I've told them I want a set hour *30* and they can't use the excuse "We've not got anyone else to do them" because I've had a few lasses tell me they want some of my calls because they hadn't gotten the hours they wanted.

The care company hasn't changed apparently, I was talking to a lady who worked for 30 years for the council in home care around the area. She said the gaps between calls were bad, you were not given enough time to do things in clients houses and they would ring you up all the time.

If you give people the hours they want and stick to every other weekend off, you wouldn't have staff phoning in "sick" just to get a day off. I dislike staff doing this because it means I get phone calls all day asking to cover and I can not do them. But a better system would make staff more happier and less people going on the sick or leaving.

I don't have the option to leave work, my partner doesn't work and I can't support the house if I leave. So I'm waiting till he finds work and then handing my notice in, I can't wait to see the back of them to be honest.
20th Mar 13 05:03

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-7

sicktothebackteeth

I work in the office for a homecare company, yup, I'm the person who calls the carers and tries to persuade them to work on their days off or squeeze a few extra calls in before or after their shift starts.

This morning I arrived at work to discover that I had 35 calls to cover for tomorrow, and 10 to cover for today. We are running beyond our capacity and have been for some time. Now that the carers are coming down with chest infections, norovirus, colds and 'flu, capacity is a disappearing dream. We've had to use agency carers who are not the best and things are starting to get missed. Calls, meds, clients, BASIC things.

This means that me and my colleague are the people who get the rough edge from clients and their families, the rough edge from exhausted carers, and the rough edge from the management who perpetually want to know why we are spending so much money on agency staff.

We try our very best to make sure that we take good care of our carers, and they work incredibly hard for us and their clients, but to be honest I hate having to call people on their days off and ask them to work because I have no other option. I wish I could pay them properly as £7.50 an hour and 30p a mile really isn't enough when you're not paid for your travelling time. The only thing that we can do is try to make sure that there aren't too many gaps on the rotas.

If it's any consolation, I only get paid that in the office and feel like I spend most of my time feeling sick whilst looking a list of vulnerable clients that haven't got anyone allocated to see them.

You lot do an AWESOME job, and we should all be paid properly.
18th Mar 13 08:03

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-13

I N Debt

Hi Sandy it is the Croydon branch I work for, tring to get hold of someone
I know who works from the Bromley branch but they maybe better......unlikely.
16th Mar 13 10:03

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-15

Sandy

I'm glad I found this when I did especially after reading I N Debt comment, which branch/area you work? I have a job interview Wednesday 20th march with allied healthcare located in Bromley but I think I will call and cancel. Guess I have to go another route
15th Mar 13 05:03

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-10

I N Debt

I wish I had found this site before I started working for Allied/Saga Home Care. The spaces between clients are so far apart, I don't get any mileage allowance for the petrol I use or any pay for traveling between clients. When I worked it out on a spreed sheet I am out of pocket so I am paying to go to work!!! Thankfully it is less than a month I have worked, but I am handing in my notice, what a joke. I am going to miss my few clients I have, but that's ok because they are used to new carers ALL the time. Do not work for or use this company, they only want the profit. The office is rude to both carers and clients, couldn't arrange a kids birthday party let alone care for the elderly.
15th Mar 13 02:03

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-9

jobianne

I own a care company and have learned from working from various agencies where they go wrong, i pay my staff well and really look after them, free training, crb, £8 per hour plus travel expenses, free uniforms and put them through NVQ, if they want to go to a last minute birthday bash or a night out, I do their calls for them! you get back what you put in!! my clients have experienced, trained and MATURE carers (sorry younger ones but you lack in life experience and live for the drink culture) I have a low staff turnover only 1 lady has left and she cried when leaving but had to look after her daughter as her eldest started working and ive had one sickness due to her breaking her toe (which she worked on 3 days)The main thing clients want is continuity not everybody and their dogs walking in! my staff receive a 2 week rota, one with weekend off then weekend on and it never changes, their rota is sent out on a monthly basis, I wish there were more companies like mine that give a damn about the elderly and the vulnerable and not about profit
11th Mar 13 06:03

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-5

Magali

Well how I wished I read this page before going to a job interview yesterday for the position of Home Care Worker. I did a research on the company before the interview but should have done one on the job itself too!
The job advertised £7 to £9 an hour, not great but that's still something. I successfully pass the interview (a 1hr grilling of questions, no kidding!) and I am told on the spot I'm hired. I say great I'll take the job I have some questions shall I ask now or later. I am told to first go to the room next door to pay for my CRB check. I fork out £44, even though my last CRB dates only from Aug 2012, but taken with another company. Then I ask about the hourly rate. I am then explained (quickly as in passing) how it works: paid when in the client's home, visits rarely 1hr long, more 15min, time spent in the car paid at 20p a mile up to 4 miles. I am given a sheet. Would have they explained if I didn't asked? The jury's out. And out to my idea that I'd be paid a guaranteed hourly rate. In addition, I am told (because I ask) that I wont be paid any mileage to get to the 5 day training at their local branch, which is entirely unpaid training. I will be shadowing after that 5 day training for as long as I need at a 'reduced' rate (quite vague in'it?). As I leave I get a growing feeling that I have just been taken for a massive ride. i go on line and my feeling is confirmed: there's no way i can make a living with this job. I will not even break even. I will actually loose money doing this job! I call the next morning first thing to say I changed my mind. They ask why, I say 'the rates of pay'. there's no contest. I ask for my £44 back, she'll see what she can do but her hopes are slim. I give her the feedback that next time they should give the candidate the full picture before they pay for the CRB. I have to ask her twice to let me finish what I have to say. Eventually she says that 'they always tell people'. Not my experience obviously. I have to call back twice to get an answer about my refund. Because of that I am going to name that company: it's Allied Health group, the Helston Branch (West Cornwall). Disgraceful. But hang on, I kept the best for last: on the sheet that details the hourly rate it is written: a £1.50 admin fee will be levied for each payslip issued. How low can you go?
1st Mar 13 07:03

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-4

4artthow

I have done home care and found it to be hard on the clients, you are often having to rush care due to unrealistic client lists.
I am doing bank care for a home now but does anyone know if you are able to hire/advertise oneself as a independent carer, if say have nvq 2 in health and social care and obtain liability insurance ? I'd quite happily organise home care on my own terms thus making sure each client gets the continuity of care and time they deserve and pay good money for !
1st Mar 13 09:03

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-4

Phil

I am disabled and have cares coming in 3 times a Day = 2 and a half hours a day. BUt I don't know from one day to another who I'm getting. Like many of you Know when i first went over to the company I was quoted for the hour, not for 40 minutes. But because I have different carers coming in they don't bother even looking at what I have had in the few days before. No they go for the quickest and easiest meal for them to cook so they can sit down and watch telly. Like tonight they asked me if I wanted chicken and pastor, So I said yes. Bear in mind I only have one meal a day. When they brought it in you know what they had. It was pastor in chicken sauce. I was liveried. Another time the carer came to do the weekly shopping because I was lying in bed but nearly dressed the carer said that I didn't need much and he would bring it in later, which he did. But the next day when he tried to give me the same meal as the day before. He goes you haven't any food in. Only yesterday I stayed in bed only to find all my things are on the other side of the room. Please bare in mind I have a bad sprain on each leg and if I stand the pain is that great that I fall and I have to ring the ambulance to get me up. The only ones who benefit from these private companies is the owners. The workers and the clients are treated like shit. Last one Few years ago I had a carer who was just coming in to make a meal. She only had half an hour. So I thought I would have something quick and easy, Egg and chips
She said she didn't know how to cook eggs another time I asked her for chips with something. Again she said I don't know how to cook chips and when I rang the company they just backed her up. Saying she didn't know how to cook. But the company was only there to cook a meal. Nothing else. What are disabled and elderly do starve to death or is it the polltitions policy to make things that bad that the disabled and the elderly no longer want to live
14th Jan 13 02:01

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-9

Lucie

I'm very sorry to her that you've had a bad experience but I work as a home care assistant and I love it. I'm well paid for my work and I'm very well supported by my team leaders and managers. Maybe the company you worked for could take some tips off of mine
13th Jan 13 04:01

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-8

Helen

I have a sweet little homemaker, whom has to call an answer machine, when she arrives, and leaves. Last week, her person from the agency kept calling and disrupting her care. I jokingly said to her, that a couples hours extra work should make up for the interuptions. But, I knew her next patient woulf be expecting her.

Not being Canadian, the homemaker does her best. I gently help her say words correctly. \i have a good attitude, thus we enjoy each others company.

I feel sorry, for the hard working homemakers, too; letting them know my appreciation, and care about their lives.
17th Dec 12 06:12

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-14

oneknackeredbloke

All the comments posted by everyone just would not be believable in the modern world but unfortunately they are true. I have talked to my coleagues about every last one of the problems encountered. I will say that the company i work for do have better benefits than most including payed travel time( although its about £2 below minimum wage) and 40p a mile for fuel. Also they are well above minimum wage and pay about £9 per hour (and more) at weekends. free mobile phone. Free uniform( not just one) and training/ crb checks and decent holiday pay but no sick. Also we have guaranteed contracts 5- 35 hours. we have staff who have been here for years although getting new staff is problematic because they don't realise what's involved with care. The Service users get well cared for and in general we are a pretty good team. It all sounds like a good deal but there are still the same problems mentioned in other posts but not to the same degree. If the government/ councils/ care company's realise good pay and conditions will help give top quality care, retain carer's and save them money in the long run as its alot cheaper to stay at home than it is to be in a home, is it not??!! ps VERY interested to here about payed travel time at minimum wage and number of hours at work and legallity of it all.
14th Dec 12 06:12

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-9

Richard

As a manager/secretary for a care company i have encountered many of these problems in my time. Ill admit care agencies had a good thing going up until recently. For us its now a struggle, we charge £11 p/h with no additions for mileage or weekend rates, we pay £6.50 p/h in the week and £8 p/h at a weekend plus mileage 10p or 25p depending on the distance travelled. We care very much for our clients and our staff, we do train as much as we can. There are times when we do have to ring on carers days off to cover calls, it is just part and parcel of the job, these clients need help. We would happily pay our staff more travelling time and mileage if we was able to charge more or contracted for more by the councils. As things stand, its impossible to improve the conditions for the workers without jeopardising the future of the company.
20th Nov 12 12:11

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-9

Pooley

My comments was a facetious play on the name of a company homeinstead. Sadly although the brochure may be more glossy the gist is still the same. Exploitation.
15th Nov 12 08:11

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2

Richard

Any staff member who takes advantage of a client is indeed likely to be sacked (That is IF someone reports it) I joined the care career because I wanted to take care of the elderly people in my home town, My parents looked after me and I in return looked after their parents and also them when they got older and could no longer look after themselves.

As Trololo mentioned, you do get paid for looking after your relatives so why are less and less people actually taking care of their family?

Most people dislike looking after their own parents, but they forget that it was their parents who raised them. Some people these days are selfish, yes you may have children to look after and a job. But you can stop your job, become a carer for your parents by moving them in with you, into that spare room you have or an office or even maybe having them live just over the road.

Home care is a horrible job to get into, maybe one day people will stop wanting to become a home care worker and there will be none, and then people will have to start looking after their own parents and realise what a tiring hardworking job it really is.

I'm also a sad one, I work 13 hour shift with an hour break and only get paid for 6.30hrs
10th Nov 12 10:11

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0

Trololo

Pooley, are you referring to some staff members who take money from clients?

Any staff member who accepts gifts, no matter of its a box of chocolates will get sacked if they accept. Some cares do try get away with it and if caught accepting money will not be hired again.

I'd also like to point out that some clients family treat you like crap, at the end of the day, they are the ones who should be looking after their own family. And yes they should/can and will be paid for it! No excuse!
10th Nov 12 08:11

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-2

pooley

I can now relay info on givemeyourmoneyinstead oops sorry homeinstead
9th Nov 12 10:11

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-3

Not-A-Happy-Carer

I wanted to work in care, my mother did it during my childhood and she always said that the clients you work for are lovely. She bonded well with them and it painted a picture of something worth doing, so I tried my best at getting into care, I did my level 2 in food safety and understanding care work. Fine I thought, this was what I wanted to do.
Oh how I was wrong!
I got an interview with a home care support agency last month, they told me I would only be doing 20 hours and could have more if I wanted. Mentioned the walking and that how the calls are close together (Oh wonderful lie) they also said I would be given training since I had not done care work before.
Four weeks ago I had three days with this said "Training" which was JUST watching DVD's about "care homes" and filling in papers. The next week, I had two days of training. The first day was the handling of clients, using a hoist and different slings, second day was first aid.
After completing this "Training" I was then sent out with other staff to shadow them, the first member I was with basically told me nothing, let me into their houses and let me watch her do things. Didn't show me how to use a MARR sheet or tell me what I would do if I didn't know what to do. The second staff member though was brilliant, she told me what each call was for and what I should be doing during each.
Three days of shadowing they are supposed to give you, on the second day they asked me to do TWO calls on my own and while I agreed I asked them what these calls would be for "Meds" they said, I agreed and went to the last call of the night to find there was no MARR sheet! I rang countless people trying to get hold of someone, at 8pm proves hard.
I managed to get the medication right when my senior rang me and I went home to sleep with a sound mind. Till the next day that was, I received my time sheet and looked it over, Thursday was fine! Four hours within a six hour time slot, one of those hours was a break. So then comes Saturday and I almost cried with anger, I have five hours' worth of calls and yet I'm out for fourteen hours same goes for Sunday.
So along comes Wednesday and I'm called at mid-day to see if I can make a few calls that night, fine. Thursday comes and I make my round and come home and think "This isn't so bad" I swear to you I wasn't drunk/high.
Today they rang me to see if I could do two calls tonight, are they kidding me? I'm at work for 14 hours tomorrow, I declined and I could tell they were not happy, tough cookies! I've been told by countless staff members that the company will ring you on ALL your days off and ask you to cover calls, some as little as "15" minutes. They also rang me earlier to slot two other calls into my shift tomorrow. Meaning some of my calls will be rushed, why when they have almost ten of us in one area!

At the end of all this I'm very upset, they did not warn me of how little time you have to walk between calls and how late you finish. I am dreading walking home in the dark tomorrow night, my area is known for stabbings/muggings and vandals. I wouldn't be as upset as I am if I were being paid for my walking time, but 14 hours a day for five hours pay doesn't cover the bills I have to pay and the rent. I have just started but I'll be looking for work elsewhere!
Fifty six hours for Twenty hours pay? If you are even considering working for an agency like this, don't! I regret REGRET getting into this line of work right now.

I'm hoping I can get some help if I decide to leave this job without finding another one to go into.
9th Nov 12 06:11

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2

Stressed carer

I have worked in care for about 6 months now. At first I really enjoyed it. I did receive training to start with and was impressed with the set up. However the company I work for are now revealing their true colours. Like many other carers have described, I love the service users and enjoy the work, but the pay and conditions are appalling. I start between 6 and 7am and work through until 10 or 11pm at night. I get about 3 hours off in the afternoon. I eat and just collapse in bed during that time because I'm so exhausted. This goes on for days at a time where I don't see my partner, cannot deal with anything in the house and average about 4 hours sleep a night. I often wake up not knowing if it's morning or night, feel dizzy and sick and cannot process basic information. I am then expected to get behind the wheel, look after elderly and vulnerable people, administer important medication and write legible communication. I did once faint on the job and ended up in hospital. The response from the company was to "take your multi vitamins!"

I did agree slightly reduced hours and to have nights off evenly spaced out on my rota, but this has only lasted for a couple of weeks. Doing reasonable hours has also left a huge dent in my pay packet and I'm getting in to debt to subsidise their crap wages. Their communication with service users is also appalling. Most of the time they do not receive their weekly rota so don't know who is turning up or when. I had the husband of a service user with dementia shouting at me because of it today, shortly before his wife punched me in the stomach. I am actively looking for another job!
31st Oct 12 04:10

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angry carer

I am so angry, I feel the same way and today I am quitting a company that is exactly like this. It's absolutely tidicoulous what they expect you to do and none of my clients were ever happy with the company. It's a shambles and I'm so happy to be leaving. My aunty is a nurse and she knows most of the stuff I have been telling her about their ways is illegal and so she is hoping to expose them through her connections in the health service. So many companys are like this these days and who do we have to thank for bringing them in, the Tory government!
25th Oct 12 12:10

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4

Missbeans

Very interesting posts.......I am a live-in carer I have many years experience, superb check able references, am very well spoken and educated, and devoted to achieiving my clients happiness and peace of mind. I am ALWAYS asked to stay on...........I have more often then not found that the carer I am relieving, or replacing, has left filthy fridges, generally uncared for home and unhappy and lonely clients.........I have to be honest and state that they are nearly all none uk personnel, it's just happened again as I have come back to work for a while. The agencies all have loads of paperwork, which goes on and on ad nauseum about the clients care, dignity, respect, all the wonderful things that their fully trained exceptional staff will do, AND IT'S ALL RUBBISH. 9 times out of ten, no, make that 99 times out of a hundred they do not implement one single aspect of their self promoted hype. It's a disgrace , I am earning 2.66 an hour after tax, and told that it's because it's live in and all the agencies overheads etc. I attend lovingly to my client day and night, I eat very little, and frankly 450 a week for 24/7 is not enough. I have an adult dependant son recovering from severe illness, and a home and normal life to finance and run...........This is the very least I have ever been paid, and sadly will probably leave for this reason, and that's terrible because the lady adores me and is finally, after four agencies who are VERY well known and advertise in The Lady magazine etc, and an assortment of selfish, lazy women who frightened and depressed her, finally she is happy and tells me everyday,and it's just heart breaking.........agencies seem to be getting greedier and greedier and that fact that I am in my 50s, English, well educated and widely read and have so much experience and 100 per cent success rate with some difficult and distressed clients, well the fact that I am paid the same as the twenty something year old thick accented , dirty, lazy FOREIGN, yes I will say it person who I have replaced is not right at all. It's a disgrace. HIRE PRIVATELY DO NOT USE COMPANIES OR AGENCIES, THERE ARE TREMENDOUS WORKERS OUT HERE WHO YOU JUST NEED TO FIND. Do not compromise your loved ones mental health, there are indeed SOME good agencies, but most are rubbish and their workers grossly underpaid.
20th Oct 12 09:10

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-3

Natalie

We as a Wage Slave group, need to address the disgraceful conditions affecting agency home care workers, we must unite, strength is in numbers, who else would work a 55 -hour week for less than £3.10 an hour, yes in 2012.

Gandhi said Service to humanity is the greatest thing, however we are working often rising at 5.30am to be on call for 6.45, working 9/10 hours a days on calls and walkers having to endure 6/7 hours plus of walking, Of which we recieve no pay for travelling from one location to another which most-times is 40 minutes away in any direction, a ludicrous situation, which adds up to a 16 hour day.
Agencies are breaking the law,all workers for reduction of overwork, exhaustion and fatigue, for punitive degrading wages, must unite, where is the petition, how do we draw the Government's attention to our plight, there must be something we can do.

Agencies are paid £15 an hour by Local Authorities, this was cited in the June 12th issue of The Independant.

I implore you to contact Acas for a tribunal and phone the Government's pay and work helpline.

In 2012 we as an under represented group earn a measly £3.30 an hour equating to £36.00 for a 30 hour week. Total Exploitation, some days you get 20 calls and co/ords urging to take 6 more, others days you are only getting 2/3 calls, no continuity of hours, huge swings in paid hours and law-breaking by agencies refusing to pay travel hours., 0 hour contract, never getting a wage-slip.

We have the responsibility of personal care, manual -handling of administering medicines, dealing with people with Dementia, continence-care, of administering finances and a whole range of tasks. Often dealing with stubborn people who refuse to wear hearing aids, making communication a great struggle, when you are trying to change a colostomy bag and there is no hot water.

Private home-care companies are boosting profits for themselves, but short-changing elderly vulnerable people and often caring staff who try to scrabble together a paltry crust, often with young families.

We can no longer accept exploitation of home-care workers by greedy agencies, whose only interest is profit, not people. Their reputation stinks like many of the dirty jobs we have to do which nurses, no longer want to do. We also have to use our own credit on mobile phones amounting to £30/40 a week out of the ,well there are no wages.A Zero wage, £36 eaten up by mobile phone-bill.
12th Oct 12 07:10

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5

fedupcarer

I am a carer, started with the council many years ago, and I believe our elderly and their care should go back to the council or NHS, Private care agencies are making money and us carers and the customers are suffering, we get plenty of training but not much is of use in the community. we were given the NVQ2 and Now the chance to do NVQ3 at a great cost. do companies get the money from the government? because it is so simple to pass - they give you the answers so you pass on time, whats the point on the NVQs companies should treat their staff better rather than spend money on NVQs if the goverment are paying companies for this can you please look at it
29th Sep 12 09:09

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0

pooley

The companies certainly are making a big fat profit and because the client is paying a small fortune they want their money's worth
18th Sep 12 07:09

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1

Carer

Hmm interesting reading, I work for a care agency they charge the client £17.95 for companionship, I earn £7.20 of that. Interestingly they don't pay me mileage until I have done 10 miles but they DO charge the client 9 miles per day at 50p per mile - pure profit of £4.50 for them.
As a new entrant to the care sector I have been horrified at the underhand dealings.
16th Sep 12 10:09

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1

pooley

Anybody know anything about HomeInstead? Are they fair to their employees?
9th Sep 12 04:09

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2

John

I worked as a male carer for one shift before I quit. They told me at the interview I could work as many hours as I want and the pay looked nice... Like many have said, it's a con and you only get paid for the client visits and really poor mileage. It would have been more beneficial being on the dole. The people I worked with were really friendly but they scared to leave the job because of threats that they would have to pay back money for training as well as worrying about bills. I left after one shift and they didn't even ask why, just ok good luck.
7th Sep 12 06:09

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3

miserablemoaninggit

I've set up a direct debit for the Marie Curie charity. Does this charity treat and pay its workers well? Or, should I stop the DD?
18th Aug 12 02:08

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trace

Anyone work for allied healthcre doing home visits what info can you give as about to start work for them as a carer
18th Aug 12 09:08

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2

rich

I have just recently became a care worker.

Like many others i am disgusted at the conditions in which i am expected to work in. I recived very little training and got thrown quickly in to the deep end. The first rota i recived didn't include a day off starting monday to sunday from 6 or 7am till 11pm everyday.

I am constantly put in situations i dont feel confident about, at least once a day i travel to a call where i am not needed.

I get called everyday asking to cover more shifts and thats no joke, then i end up being given the wrong information about the client and going into the call without a clue what im supposed to be doing.

I have bent over backwards for this company and get no thanks, my good nature means i am easy to take advantage of. I requested a single day off next week and was told "well im not sure we can manage that, i'll see what i can do"!!! Staff are dropping like flies and pulling sick days left right and center... it's pretty obvious to see why.

So come friday i will have worked 14 days without a day off. I am exhausted, I sleep in my car outside clients homes where possible. Last night i broke down in tears after a call because i just can't take this work load. I need some sleep and some time to rest my mind.

I am currently trying to take this matter further with the care commision. I work for "care watch" by the way. Might aswell name and shame them, disgusting.
14th Aug 12 06:08

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8

jamal

The things I am shocked are allowed working in the private care sector are-
-Having to pay your own CRB costs. Care company's will also add on extra costs for admin, but most fail to tell you that you can apply online yourself for around £36, I was told I would have to pay £71!!
-Working for 8 hours and over without breaks of any kind.
-Not being reimbursed for mileage and business insurance due to having to use your car in work.
-Lone working with customers whose care needs require the use of 2 carers due to mobility or behavioral issues.
-Lack of training- Many people are told to read policies to find out what to do in situations. Not a very effective way of learning when you have dyslexia like me.
-Working long hours but only being provided with 1 uniform, which makes it impossible to clean and dry every night. Which totally goes against their precious policies on cross infection. Also not being provided with the correct safety equipment such as gloves or aprons.
31st May 12 08:05

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11

T

Wow im so glad i found this. Totally rings home. I was a male carer, working for what i can only describe as the most backwater degenerate excuse of a company i have ever seen. Its funny really, i did enjoy it at first, but once the problems began to surface it was just a long painful nightmare for all involved.

The way pay is calculated is truly disgusting, just shocking. And not only did i have the exact same problems as described above. They also had the indecency to either pay what little i earned wrong, or not on time.. once even a week late, which required multiple 'visits' to the owner of the place. Amazing.

Also to earn that wage, my day consisted of something like this. 6am - 1pm morning shift, go home and sleep for about 3 hours in the middle of the day because im that exhausted, and then do the evening shift which was 4pm - 10pm. That was 6 days a week. My only day off was a Friday. What do you think they did every Friday? Thats right, attempt to contact me on both my mobile and my home phone asking me to work. When they learned that i was bright enough to just not answer the damn phone, they instead would ask other people to phone instead so i would answer. Hilarious. By the way, 6 days a week with that routine was not even close to 40 hours pay at MINIMUM wage. My weekend 'bonus' rate was a staggering £0.05 more an hour. How do people come up with this ****.

Anyway, as if it would stop there? I was not a driver at the time. Mileage allowance was.. 19p a mile. Many simply didn't even bother for that or claimed from the tax office. Uniforms were mandatory, and set you back well over £20..for one. God forbid having two so i can actually wash them and look presentable. Timesheets which recorded hours worked and calls visited often were completely wrong, resulting in either missed calls, or multiple people turning up at the same place. Training was non existant despite being told at the interview that i would be able to get that for free.

Anyway.. enough about my personal problems with them. The treatment of service users and staff. So we have all heard the storys of people going in there without proper training and big problems happening.. lots of that happened. We had one gentleman with PD, who was completely bedridden. Could take maybe a few steps with help but thats about it. We had ZERO aids to help this man. We were 'taught' to pretty much lift him out of bed, and the chair and whatever else with the use of a frame. There would always be two of us there. Now.. hes not a small man at all. Im 6ft 3 and i would not find it easy. And yet, two girls much smaller than me were supposed to be able to do this without issue? Despite reporting this multiple times to managers and deputy managers and branch managers and operations managers and whatever else, the end result is a women suffered an injury to her back because of them, working in this mans home. Fantastic.

There were other incidents of poor practice from the office. Communication from them to service users was non existant. Carers were not allowed numbers of the service users, so if you were running late, you would ask to call them to let them know. I gave up in the end because it just never happened. And who has to go and face these people who are upset and angry that the service they are getting is ****? I mean jesus, we have had users pass away, and the family even notified the office... but the carers dont get the message. So there i am, on somebodys doorstep, with a family in pieces and me trying to explain why the hell we have turned up.

I could go on for hours im sure, but it just enrages me to think about. I loved every single one of my clients but i had to go. I walked out of that job after 8 months. I was asked to give 4 weeks notice. I think i probably used every expletive i knew before telling them no. That was March of this year. I have now just landed myself a new job as a Support Worker and will enjoy proper training and standard working hours/shifts. For all those carers out there that still do it, i hope it does change for you.
31st May 12 03:05

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11

sick of it

I sympathise and agree with your comments Missy. Unfortunately those are situations care assistants often find themselves in and there are so many loopholes for the companies to wriggle out of that even when it's reported, it's often the care assistant that cops it. The government needs to take care in hand, and either stop private companies being allowed to have homes and home care businesses and make it part of the NHS or similar or cap profits from these homes - how many of these companies would still be trading if they were forced to put say 60% of their profit back into the homes or businesses they run? Not many I'd bet. The rules may look strict but in practice, if you can write a good policy to deal with a rule it doesn't actually have to be carried out because that's all that is looked at, the written policy and how it's supposed to be put into practice, no proof of how it's actually put into practice (or not as is often the case) Being a care assistant sucks, being a client of care sucks, both are underfunded, treated badly and have virtually no come back. Time it changed.
30th May 12 06:05

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11

Missy

So glad I found this page!! I have so much to tell regarding this issue of working in the care industry!! So much so, I am considering writing to the papers about my experiences as I believe something needs to be done to protect staff who work for private care company's.
I think I know the exact company that you got your job with, (and im not going to name them here) but I got a job with them, I did 3 days training and then was handed my 1st rota, where I saw I would be working 16 hour days, with gaps of 2 hrs or an hour, where I would be doing nothing. My calls were also ridiculously spaced around the city. The amount of petrol I would have been using would have been insane, (and I had to apply to government for petrol money back in april, which I have since learnt does not get you the full amount back.) I also would not have been paid for travel time and only time that I would have been in the clients home. I did do 1 shift on the community, where I accompanied 2 girls in the late teens and early twenty's, who clearly didn't know what they were doing and were rude to me and the clients. I left after that shift but was not paid for my training or the shift as I hadn't 'gone live' with my rota!! Whatever that means?!?!?
My job before that I was witness to abuse of service users and I was bullied myself. I reported this to the management who swiftly removed the offender but I was left in a job where friends of the offender made my work life miserable. I was the 1 that had to be moved to a different location. Where I was left alone for 14 hours after staff rung in sick. There was no one to cover as all staff were busy and when I rang the manager he said he was on holiday and I would have to stay as there was no one on call either. The men I were supporting had mental health issues and challenging behavior and one man was becoming agitated as he had not gone out due to me being on my own all day. I had to deal with that on my own and if things had got dangerous, I would have been on my own with absolutely no support network to help me or the client.
My final and most recent experience was with a care company who I have never in all my years working in care seen things so bad. I got a job as a support worker looking after a young man who had autism and challenging behavior. I was told at the interview that I would never work alone with him and that I would receive training in restraint to cope with the clients episodes. I was called in earlier than expected and told that I was needed to cover 4 shifts, but for 3 weeks after I would be on a 0hrs contract, until I started my official rota. So what was I supposed to do for money for the best part of a month? She also said I would never do nights but I was approached by her that shift to do sleep-in where I would be payed a measly £26 a night!? Looking at the rota she had done for me I would have been technically working for 26 hours straight, this would have been with the late and early shifts she had put me on either side. I also received no training what so ever. I was took to the office at the start of my shirt and told to read the policies and procedures folders and the clients care plan.I was given a brief overview of medication and told a little about paperwork and told to read this during my shift.This was all the 'training' I received. And I didn't have time to read these documents as the client was so demanding, so I didn't get a full insight into his care until shift 3. I asked what I should do if the clients displayed violent behavior and she said 'just run away and lock yourself in a room'. I was also told not to phone the police as the client would get 'locked up'. But that I should always phone the manager.
On my last shift I was basically left on my own with him and he began by inappropriately touching me and making inappropriate advances, when I said I did not want him not to do that he attacked me, throwing things at me , Pushing me, threatening to hit me. I locked myself in the office and he kicked the door in. I phoned the manager and she calmed him down but I had to carry on with my shift and she did not phone back later to check if I was ok. Subsequently I have left this job as I have never been so scared in all my life. I was left in a very vulnerable situation which I was not equipped to deal with due to no training. I simply should not have been left alone with him, as I believe this client is a danger to himself and others. He is also permitted by the manager to go into the local community with just 1 carer, which I think is irresponsible as he is so unpredictable and anything can make him angry and violent. And all that for a mere £6.08 an hour!! Thats if I get my pay for my 4 shifts as having spoken to 2 separate members of staff, i learnt their not too good at paying people either.
When is care going to be taken from the hands of these private companies whose only interest is profit!! We are dealing with peoples lives here and a price can not be put on the well being of the staff and the clients. My mother is a cleaner and she gets better pay, better working conditions, and does not have to deal with physical and verbal abuse. I am that shaken up by everything I have been through that I have vowed to myself I will never work in care again!!
30th May 12 10:05

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7

sick of it

" Like where i work am giving five clients to wash and dress it OK by me but the wrong thing there is that U can not rush this people cos they ar adults and its been said that they have to get up 6am to get ready for breakfast, and these clients are not going anywhere but we just hav to get them out of bed weather they like it or not we just have to obey others, really feel sorry for this people" yanore! - 23-May-12 14:46

This is horrible - but so true. Care assistants are made to do things that are against the rules and they don't want to do everyday - or lose their job. Simple as. At least if I do it I can make it as easy on the poor person as I can, rather than refuse and someone else does it badly. I've tried standing up for these people's rights and my life was a living hell - and guess what it still went on, so nothing was achieved except me being victimised. The people who make the rules in their ivory towers have no concept of what it actually takes to achieve what they decree as right, and though they demand these things of the care workers, home owners aren't obliged to actually provide you with the staff and equipment to do it. As long as they can write a policy to show the inspectors then doesn't matter if that policy is adhered to or not because there's no one there to see.
23rd May 12 04:05

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3

yanore!

Oh yes this is the time to speak my mind about the job av been doing for the past ten years.
To be honest, really used to like this job,but not anymore. Am still doing it cos am one of those who was not opportune to be educated down in Africa in my growing up and have tried now that am almost fifty years of age but found out that i lack a lot of concentration so just have to remain in the job which is care work.It used to be care really, but not anymore it is now business, they pay you who does all the job for minimum wage, and them whom their job is just to keep them in the home makes all the money to themselves an in all that they want the best out of you and always add more work to Ur job role so I think something needs to be done about carers and their jobs not just training but things to reduce stress and not giving a carer much clients to do. Like where i work am giving five clients to wash and dress it OK by me but the wrong thing there is that U can not rush this people cos they ar adults and its been said that they have to get up 6am to get ready for breakfast, and these clients are not going anywhere but we just hav to get them out of bed weather they like it or not we just have to obey others, really feel sorry for this people, i pray they'll be a regulation not just on the clients but on the carers as well for in so doing there'll be change mostly how many clients a carer should care for be it night or day and let every home follow that regulation if not really don't see any change.
23rd May 12 02:05

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2

Vicky

Care in Crisis?? Yes there is, and no amount of training or spying on people with cameras will solve the problem. Caring for our elderly is an important job, they are important and so are we. Care providers and the likes and all of them that are well paid with an opinion on the problem in care should try doing the work for a year. we all end up strugling to stay in the job because of low pay and not enough hours, most will end up with bad backs or some damage to their bodies even with all the training, and no amount of training and rules will make a nasty carer nicer - the powers that be and management must see the importance in retaining decent staff, all they care about is keeping any staff that can work on low pay and minium hours. travel time and a decent wage should be paid to Home carers, and a guaranteed minimum amount of hours given. the way carers are treated is disgusting. we need people with important voices to speak out for us
28th Apr 12 07:04

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Max

According to The Government's Pay and Work Rights Helpline, The National Minimum Wage must be paid for traveling from one work assignment to the next, so it would appear that Homecare companies are breaking the law. The Government Helpline's advice is to divide your gross pay by the total number of hours spent working and traveling. The figure obtained should not go below the NMW. There is a freephone number to call if anyone feels they are not being paid the NMW.
18th Apr 12 10:04

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5

Tired carer

I began working for a home care company 3 months ago after leaving a well paid position as a nurse, as I adore working with older adults. HUGE mistake, love the service users, conditions are appalling. I was made to feel at the interview that I had been employed because of my qualifications and experience however it's occurred to me they will actually employ anyone. I work about 70 hours a week, paid for 25, have 3 days off a month, am plagued by phone calls from the office on my days off. If I leave my phone un attended I get around 10 missed calls and voicemails - on my days off - begging me to go to clients. Im given such ridiculous times to travel between jobs as in 15 minutes to drive 25 miles, that I have to leave some clients early, then obviously my wages are docked. I worked my weekend off as a favour for free because the log in box was broken - they still dock your wages!! So shattered currently just finished my 17th day in a row and wish I'd discovered this website sooner!
16th Apr 12 08:04

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14

Max

I work for a home care company in the North of England and cover a compact area of about 4 square miles. Calls are usually 30 minutes with a few "pop in" calls of 15 minutes. I am out from about 8am till 6pm but only get paid for the calls I do. Fortunately we are not paid by the minute (at the moment) and still get paid for the call if the client doesn't need anything or cancels the call at short notice. Travelling expenses are 15p a mile but there is no payment for travelling time. However if you manage to do a half hour call in 25 minutes, this evens the score. I work 5 days out of 7 with a couple of late shifts (9pm) and average about 30 hours a week. Pay is just above minimum wage, and because my wife is working we just manage to get by. I agree the pay is poor for such a lot of responsibility and sometimes I am out in the car all day for 4 hours wages. Unemployment is high in this area and the company take on a lot of new starters, but few of them stay on. A new logging in system has just started using a tag in the client's home and hi-tech mobile phones. The logical outcome of this will probably be workers being paid by the minute for each call. I have my NVQ now and am looking for a job in a care home.
14th Apr 12 10:04

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5

Jujus47

I agree with all of this too. I have recently been offered a position as a Caregiver for Homeinstead UK after attending a very positive and exciting interview . At the interview, I was told that only one in 10 people are offered positions with them, as their expectations are very high. Part of the recruitment process was a requirement to attend a 3 day training course over 3 weeks, the end result even if we were not successful a certificate to confirm that we have received training. Of course the training is free however you do not get paid while attending the training.

I attended the training, which seemed positive with people being asked to attend from all walks of life some very educated indeed. After the training we did receive a Certificate, however it was merely a Certificate of attendance of their initial induction programme. During the course of 3 weeks there was no mention of the payouts you would have to make initially to get onto their books and then there is no promise that there is work available in return.

I have received an offer of employment but nothing like I have received in the past. Basically I have been asked to pay for the CRB check and POVA first registration fees . This has to be renewed periodically at your expense. I have been asked to upgrade the insurance on my car to Business rates at my expense. I am not allowed expenses for travel to each client and radius can be pretty vast as mentioned already on here. The only travel expenses you can claim for is when taking a client on an errand using your car.
Rate Ph is 7.75 for actual hours worked with client only. there is no sick pay or pension allowance. You are allowed 1 hour for every 8 full hours worked as holiday entitlement, however for this to happen they must deduct an amount of 12.07% off each paid hours of work you receive, towards a holiday fund? You are not allowed to be available for work for anyone else and there is no guarantee of hours of work for you. You have to give one months written notice to terminate your employment and they in return they can end your employment contract with one days notice. I must also chase all the 6 references they have requested and pay the extra in postage, or I have been asked to ask those who have received the requests have to pay the extra in postage to receive the letter of reference request as the agency only use second class postage stamps for the letters they have sent out to be completed and returned. I am wondering why they are unable to email these requests as all correspondence from them is mainly email.

What a disappointment this has been for me. I live on my own with my two young children and desperate to find suitable employment. I cannot sign a contract of this nature and then sit and wait only to get perhaps a couple pounds work a week.
25th Mar 12 05:03

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15

Katrina

I agree with all of this! I am also a walker and although they've put my rota as local, they've swapped it over so I am having to go up and down to clients houses and there's a particular one that if I am over 5 minutes late, she will not let me in and she ends up ringing the office about it; and this was when it was very icy! I would of thought she understood I was trying my best. I also agree about the log-in system; I get paid less if I leave 2-3 minutes early to get to my next call a bit quicker, and I mean a lot less. I get paid £2 for 15 minutes, and about £0.50 if I am only there for 10 minutes as they do not require anything. I need to get the hell out of this job as soon as possible! They keep on pushing me to get a car - but really, they are really understaffed because no one is going to want to drive every 5-15 minutes and not get paid for travelling times. It is absolutely pathetic!
11th Feb 12 09:02

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11

paul

Care staff need to understand business before they make comments about how fair they are treated . The agencies do not get paid for time between calls and are indeed very lucky to get 14-15 pound per hour so when you tale out paying the care staff the overheads the national insurance the mileage you don't have much left at all . It's the councils who make the rules about logging in and out of calls and they are the ones who set the rates we as providers are allowed to charge. It's the councils who need to invest more money in order for providers to pay more .
22nd Jan 12 07:01

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new kid on the block

I would like to hear some feedback about this from a good care provider ! I mean a good care provider that is small in size and turnover and running without the luxury of a local authority contract.
It is very important for a balanced view to be portrayed.
I was surprised that someone has posted that some care agencies receive £60 from the client/council? Absolutely not, one is lucky to receive £15 an hour from the council for care that is delivered. Please let us hear from good small care providers.. many are struggling to exist as price is driven down time after time , making this business not viable for many.
16th Dec 11 11:12

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Joones

I have been offered a job in Home Care and i started looking at all i will have to pay out,
1. I have to pay for my Uniform from them.
2. I have to pay for the CRB check
3. I have to pay for Bussinness class Insurance on my car.
4. I have to pay for all the petrol and claim back from the Tax man every year.
5. They do not pay sickness.
6. They only pay for the time you are with the client, not for the travelling.
7. I have to use my own car, if my car breaks down they will lend you a car if they have one free, but you have to pay £43 a week to have a lend and then pay for your car to be mended.
I thought i was working for them not self employed. I cannot afford to do this i am on my own with bills and rent to pay. They are so short staffed they are crying out for these carers. To be able to get a decent wage you need to work 24 hours a day. They have also said you have to work 6 days a week. The job advert says work between 16 and 35 hours a week. The pay is £6.30 an hour that is what they are advertising yet it is mis representing exactly what you will get. You got be on the road for 4 hours and yet only have 4 clients at 20 minutes a time. so you only get paid 1 hour and 20 minutes pay yet you have been on the road for 4 hours. Get real who do they think they are. If i wanted self employment i would have started my own bussinness. so i would get about £8.oo for working 4 hours. which works out at £2.00 an hour.
9th Dec 11 10:12

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9

Stalag 14

There has been a lot of bad publicity about care workers in the media of late and it is about time the workers themselves were heard.

My wife used to work in the care industry part-time and you would not believe the number of rules and regulations that the care industry is subjected to, a bureaucratic nightmare, and they say they are going to impose even further regulation on the industry.

One of the requirements at the place my wife worked was that 80% of the staff had to have or be studying for a qualification, “NVQ , not very qualified “ all this when working shifts, nights, weekends for the bare minimum wage, as other people have said, slavery,
that is why a large proportion of the care workers are immigrants, the native population realise that much better jobs are to be had, hopefully.

I would like someone to explain why the wages in the care industry are so low, when it is obvious that a better calibre of staff may be needed, in some positions.

As working for an agency, that is slavery plus as the agency get as much or more remuneration as the worker.
24th Nov 11 11:11

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6

miserablemoaninggit

retroboy19, you have my uttermost sympathy. Despite the recent revelations of 'abuse' within the care system - deliberate cruelty of all forms is completely unacceptable! - care workers are clearly themselves suffering from abuse by their employers, and ultimately by government who have little inclination to legislate to protect the rights of workers such as yourself. Your pay is shockingly low; your conditions of service are shockingly bad; and "yes", you are being treated like slave labour. It is a sad reflection of the way we as a society have decide to look after the vulnerable, mainly elderly, members of our society.

Urgent and absolutely fundamental reform of the care system is clearly needed. Employees need to be paid a decent wage with decent conditions of service. Until this is done, all of us in society are actually guilty of abusing our vulnerable, elderly members and we should be absolutely disgusted with ourselves!
24th Nov 11 10:11

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12

retroboy19

I have just started a job in home care and find it virtually impossible as i am not a car driver.
I only get 6 pound and hour but it is 3.50 for half hour calls.
I am not street aware so it is difficult to get from a to b but i have a morgage and bills to pay so like others on here i am in a catch 22 situation and they ex[pct you to work days,evenings weekends with breaks inbetween stuck in the middle of nowhere.
I cant see myself sticking it but was told by the job centre that if i leave on my own accord it will look as though i dont want to work which is so easy for them to say - they dont work nights,weekends or evenings - something really needs to be done.
i find that some of the carers are even abusing the system,so the clients suffer not spending the scheduled rota time with each client,its a vicious circle,but on the paltry wage its like slave labour, the carers and clients suffering and the agencies racking it in- someting needs to be done a quick.
24th Nov 11 09:11

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1

magdala

melly666, I seem unable to access link for petition. Can you please check it and post again?
Thanks
28th Oct 11 11:10

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2

jojo100507

I have worked in home care and totally agree with the above comments. My experience was very similar. Having worked for reasonable employers in the past, I was completely shocked at the manner in which I was treated. My major issue was non-payment of travel time. This meant, taking into account travel time between clients, I was working 55 hours in order to achieve 30 hours paid employment at £7 per hour. This means that I was effectively working for £3.82 per hour. I worked split shifts starting at 7am and finishing 10pm which in itself breaks working time regulations. However the employer knows that for you to stand a chance of earning 30 hours per week you have to! I would get constant phone calls on my mobile requesting me to make visits over and above my roster-ed work. Days off were rarely honoured and I was made to feel guilty about refusing to work when it was my day off. In the end I just switched my phone off!
Turnover of staff was consequently very high due to the appalling terms and conditions of employment. Sad to say it is the service users, the old and vulnerable, who suffer the most.
It is not just the companies who provide social care who are to blame. I believe local councils should take responsibility for driving down standards of care by awarding contracts to these companies. It is patetently obvious that the sums don't add up and councils are sticking their heads in the sand whilst the vulnerable suffer and workers are exploited.
This issue needs to be addressed as social care needs increase due to an aging population.
It is good to hear that ACAS is taking on board this issue
4th Oct 11 02:10

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11

melly666

Please sign the petition I put forward

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/13883
24th Sep 11 04:09

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melly666

Hi I've just read this,I'm a carer myself but a 24/7 live-in carer. You are absolutely right in what you say. I started a petetion up for community carers. It's all a big con! I have friends who are working in the community and at times they are working 90-100 hours a week to pay their bills. The only people profiting are the agencies. One friend found she was working 8 hours a day free for them because of this and quit. If you have a car yes you get to clients quicker but not paid for the time inbetween OR the petrol! Some of them are driving 1/2 an hour for a 15 minute call,the petrol money costs more than what they gat paid! I'm presently trying to quit this 24/7 live-in as when you work out our pay we're on about £2.50 an hour gross,sometimes less. The only benefit is I get a free roof over my head (unless they change this also). I sacrifice my friends,relationships and social life to get by..often over worked to exhaustion and often having to deal with verbal abuse and anger from the Service Users....not to mention how much responsibility they hand down to us now. I find myself doing half the District Nursing jobs,Social Worker and accounting jobs then lastly my own! We're now expecting our wages to be sliced again due to the Social Care changes. Yes it's a BIG CON AND I'M FED UP! Problem at the moment though is I cannot afford rent on a 40 hour week low wage and can't study for a career as we're tied to the house all the time. I don't think people realise or appreciate what we go through. I'm caught in a catch 22 situation!
24th Sep 11 04:09

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4

tallpaul

to be a support worker, you need to be qualified but not essential as training will be given ie watching a couple dvd's based on support work in a care home(even though my company is not a care home) given multi choice questions which you cant fail even if you put the wrong answer down. CRB check which you have to pay for, vehicle business insurance which aint cheap, etc etc
then you can work from 7am till 11pm & be paid for 7 hours @ around £6.25ph,sometimes you may only have 3hrs pay that day!!, 16p per mile fuel allowance(40p at end of year when you claim for it)
last year i earned about £8500 and my expenses for the year are just under £4000, so basically i earned about £4500 last year untill i get my expenses back which i have to claim for and register for self assesment as they are over £2500

call this a job?


oh and i do this 6 days a week incase anyone thinks we only do it couple days a week
19th Aug 11 01:08

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5

anon

I work in home care and we have been informed last week that we are having our mileage allowance cut from 25p per mile to 16p per mile .. plus they have stopped paying us if we go to a visit and the client is not in, or the office has forgotten to let us know of any cancellations . The agency blame the concil can anyone clarify if this is true because I have my doubts .If we run over our specified time they will only pay us if they think the reason is valid. We have to go into the office each week to collect our rotas but we are not given any mileage allowance this also applys to meetings/ training ect. Do they pay a wagon driver just for the drop offs and not traveling time NO I cannot understand why WE are not paid traveling time .on the news last week it was stated in reality homecare workers are infact paid appox £2.50 an hour ( way below min wage simply for this reason), an 8 hour day and paid for 5 hours plus paying for our own petrol . I love my job but with cuts cuts and more cuts I am going to find it difficult to carry on ..
9th Jul 11 03:07

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6

diydinky

http://careworkersconnect.forumotion.co.uk/ new forum for carers see what you think
25th Jun 11 11:06

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0

diydinky

Small victory careworkers should be paid travel time at at least minimum wage Acas representative confirmed today see where we go next week.
24th Jun 11 06:06

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diydinky

Had no joy from the operations manager so now I'm going to the pre-claim conciliation through ACAS please use them as well, district nurses get paid traveling time so should we
15th Jun 11 01:06

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diydinky

Have sent grievance letter to our head office so we will see what happens next
7th Jun 11 06:06

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3

Magdala

thank you so much, I'll follow it up. And please stay in touch. The Reformer has not posted for a while, regarding the carers' website construction, so I am having another go.
7th Jun 11 10:06

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Magdala

Diyinky, could you post the relevant acas link regarding timed workers, please?
4th Jun 11 10:06

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diydinky

As a timed worker you should be paid traveling time especially if your pay goes below the minimum wage write to your employer first if nothing is done then go to ACAS for a tribunal this is what I have found out today so that is what I'm going to do and get as many colleagues as I can to do the same
2nd Jun 11 06:06

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shazza 02

I have been working as a carer for 4 months and I know exactly what you mean I drive a car to work which I was told to upgrade my insurance to business 1 (at my own cost) so the agency I work for knew they were on to a good thing and gave me all the jobs that bus users found difficult to get to by london transport it is MY time and MY fuel that is used to get to these isolated areas and even though I have mentioned this to the agency its like if you want to keep your job then keep on accomodating there requests.
31st May 11 08:05

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2

anon

Sorry dinky but I was not to know. I get my pittance weekly.
31st May 11 06:05

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diydinky

Anon it isn't £500 a week it's a month we have to work long hours to get a grand a month each so to drop that amount between us is a lot to losethe area manager don't give a dam he just sniggers at you if you say anything
31st May 11 04:05

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4

anon

Didinky All I can say is to be able to drop £500 per week you must have been on a decent wedge to start with, maybe that was the start of the trouble?
30th May 11 12:05

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4

Magdala

Hi Diydinky, the Reformer offered to set up a website, given that I am still not very good with IT,
please keep writing, so that we do not loose this essential thread. Thanks for your input, it is just as horrendous as mine and all other carers. I get 21p (twenty-one) a mile, no trav. time of course. I pointed out I am struggling with costs and had my calls cut!

Once we have our website we can be much more effective and specific.
Keep in touch
30th May 11 10:05

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Diydinky

I have just found this site, myself and my husband work as carers in the community, we have just started having to use the log in log out system and our net wages have dropped by £500 between us. We do not get travel time pay, just an allowance of 55p per service user for petrol, wear and tear on our car which we have to have business insurance for, this is also for use of our own mobile phone and the purchase of trousers and shoes. The first tunic you have is free the second is £8. I would be interested a dedicated website for us carers.
29th May 11 09:05

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2

Magdala

MiserableMG, what I was trying to say is that there are enough of us to found our very ow nunion - a union just for care workers, be they residential/nursing/community, support, daily/domiciliary, with a strong representation of agency carers. At present, we are considered health care workers, and when it comes to union representation are plight is lost in the mires of the NHS. The NHS is fully aware of what disgusting working conditions are inflicted upon us, therefore I think that for us being "unionised" with them will not make our voice heard loud enough. A common comment amongst my colleagues is: we do not have a union and my encouragements to join one, to start with, have met with flat refusals based on the opinion that no current union really represents care workers, even less agency care workers.
Perhaps no union wants to: it would open such a stinking can of worms.. Often, when I write, I get so angry that my thoughts fall apart. I find this post extremely useful and encouraging, therefore I think that a proper website all for us, only for us, would be an effective starting point.
And I also think that Miss O' Connor should not so much concentrate on the big fish, but on the smaller sharks.
10th May 11 08:05

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miserablemoaninggit

Magdala, I'm somewhat confused by your post - I'm probably being a bit 'thick' but I'm not actually sure what you are saying in the first bit. All I will say is that in relation to your net earnings, it really is quite disgusting! For once, I'm at a loss to say more.
10th May 11 12:05

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Magdala

Miserablemoaninggit, I am already a member of a union, which has served me well in the past. I hope that by "unionised" you mean having our own union. As long as we are under the NHS umbrella, fat chance of making our voice heard!
This week I lost £38 on petrol, I cut shor my calls to be everywhere on time, so my average earnings per hr. came to a cool £ 3.45.
THEREFORMER, I am waiting to hear from you.
9th May 11 09:05

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miserablemoaninggit

If ever an industry is in need of major, fundamental and urgent reform it is the business of home care workers. They are over-worked, exploited, under-paid, bullied - you name it! This industry will only be improved if the workers are unionised; clearly, this is the only solution. Trade Unions are the only guaranteed means of improving conditions for ordinary workers and all the sycophantic, disgusting little "Yes men and women", the 'nodding dogs' who will do anything that their bosses dictate, should remember this. It sickens me to the stomach how home care workers, a vitally important and necessary job, are exploited by greedy, corrupt, disreputable employers.
8th May 11 09:05

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4

gingah

I hear you. I've been working in home care since early March and it didn't take long to feel used. I love the work but cannot believe how the office can be *so* disorganized and still remain open for business! I have five minutes between calls and (even with a car) that is virtually impossible to achieve. I won't even comment on the cost of petrol at the moment... :-/

Lastly, I'll just mention that, mysteriously, my pay has suddenly dropped as per my last advice slip. Would have been nice to have been informed!

Care workers need more reasonable working conditions, no question.
8th May 11 08:05

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Magdala

Miss O'Connor, leave the name of yr. national paper and I shall send you mail there. Thanks
6th May 11 11:05

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Magdala

Magdala to the REFORMER who posted on 11 March. Sorry -I was offline due to illness, but if you would get in touch again, that would be brilliant and yes, please let's get started. I had this in mind.
Union links, CQC, specific MPs to lobby, a list of what type of carer we are (community, residential, nursing, hrs we work, average miles, PAY: per hr, wk/ends and mileage, sickness pay, willingness to disclose name of employer, in which case logging in would have to be anonymous.
6th May 11 11:05

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0

Lala

Hi there, I will definitely email you. The home care sector needs to change!!!
27th Apr 11 03:04

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0

miss.s.oconnor@gmail.com

Hello. I'm not sure if people are still checking this comment feed, but I'm a journalist at a national newspaper investigating the care home sector. It seems to me that most people outside the sector don't realise care workers are doing their best with budgets that are too tight and staff levels that are too low, just as many of you have said. If anyone would like to talk to me about their experiences, particularly working for big private operators, please email me. I am also interested in whether the CQC does a good job. You could of course stay anonomous if you wanted to. Thanks.
14th Apr 11 10:04

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1

Lala

I have been working as a home care worker for about a year and I completely understand what are you talking about. I have chanched many agencies and they seem all the same. The only interest from their side is money and more money. I had a home visit the other day with the manager (owner) and he actually said that I am there to do whatever client wants so I ended up cleaning someone's windows for 2 hours! I was told that it will be 1 hour visit and ended up to stay 2 hours without anyone asking me if I actually can! Most of the clients are lovely but being treated badly because of this whole system.
31st Mar 11 02:03

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Lala

I have been working as a home care worker for about a year and I completely understand what are you talking about. I have chanched many agencies and they seem all the same. The only interest from their side is money and more money. I had a home visit the other day with the manager (owner) and he actually said that I am there to do whatever client wants so I ended up cleaning someone's windows for 2 hours! I was told that it will be 1 hour visit and ended up to stay 2 hours without anyone asking me if I actually can! Most of the clients are lovely but being treated badly because of this whole system.
30th Mar 11 11:03

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The Reformer

Magdala, In veiw of your IT skills being what they are would you like me to set up a web site and then we can all have our say and maybe begin to become a collective group seeking change within our Industry.
11th Mar 11 11:03

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Susie

Hi everyone - after all this I feel I should warn my daughter not to start work in home care but then a job's a job. Can anyone out there tell me if it's usual not to be paid for three months during training and will she get paid if they decide she's not right? She has to come off Jobseeker's to do it so will have to live off her savings.
10th Mar 11 05:03

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Magdala

Hi, Metoyou. Great to hear from someone interested. I am still working on it-took a "break" to look after a relative. Gimme some hours and I can send you the address.
MY IT skills are not exceptional, so ANY CONTRIBUTION is welcome.
23rd Feb 11 10:02

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Metoyou

Magdala. Have you set up this website yet?? I have in the past worked in home care. Was working 16 hours a day for about 9 hours pay. No pay between clients-and clients were based all over the place. I took a break and gone onto another home care agency. They claim to be good and just set up a new office in my area. The management "seem" to be on the ball. Promising hours and clinets in close proximity....but we will see. I would love to hear more from you, the government need to change this for the sake of the clients and carers. How can we do our job properly if things dont change. Its abuse!!!
11th Feb 11 08:02

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1

Vaida

Hi
which recruitment company did you use because tommorow I´ll have an interview and I would like to be sure:)
thank you for your report it was very helpful
11th Jan 11 08:01

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Magdala

Jasanthus, are you willing to help me set up the dedicated website? Yr comments and most of the others are a snapshot of my situation and I refuse to lie down and surrender.
30th Nov 10 10:11

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1

jasanthus

I have gone back into homecare after a break, only because I want to help people but have quickly realised that all the stuff I was told at the interview about improved conditions was rubbish. The pay is based on the minimum wage. The timetable of half hour and 15 min calls at clients sometimes includes showering/washing, dressing, applying lotions and getting breakfast so no possibility of cutting the half hour to alow travel time to the nex client. There is no fuel pay, or pay in between calls which sometimes involve long distances between clients, travelling in the dark (and snow just now) to places you have never been. We are expected to pay for uniforms, insurance, mobile phone, fuel and do not get paid if we are sick. I want to do this job, but feel exploited, underpaid and used. Clients tell me how much they pay for these calls and it is the agencies who are taking all the money while the carers run their car to the ground, struggle to pay for fuel and get paid nothing for their time. I am a good carer but will have to leave as it is costing too much to do the job.
29th Nov 10 04:11

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1

Magdala

mailto:carecommission@dh.gsi.gov.uk
They say in their website they want to work "with us". Let's start writing to them in bare statistics and figures: hrs worked, hrs. paid, UNPAID travelling time, time allocated to each client and time spent with them. State whether agency, residential nursing carer. Feedback me
21st Nov 10 01:11

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Magdala

Commission on the Funding of Adult Social Care will deliberate"ahead of its report to Parliament next summer." Baroness Greengross promises o ensure that our employment issue remain hingh on the policy agenda. Unison promises to ensure that our issue are heard. I am trying to set up a website all for us, can you help with an ear-catching name?
21st Nov 10 01:11

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0

jimbo

In response to recent home carers having to resign from their jobs because of being unable to afford fuel costs etc, I too have resigned from my job because I could not afford to pay sometimes upto £500 each month for fuel in order to enable me to carry on doing the job I loved needless to say after 3 months I had no alternative but to leave my position because management refused to reimburse any of the costs at all,now I am umenployed and unable to find another post so close to the xmas period, when I was interviewed for the job I was told I could choose which hours I could work and how many, this soon was history and I ended up constantly having my work rota changed every other day and working sometimes upto 16 hours a day, this is unacceptable practice to say the least with little or no regard at all toward the client or the worker, please, please all carers stand up and let us hear more about what you have experienced, ive no doubt this is normal practice all over the country.
17th Nov 10 11:11

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0

Magdala

Steve M, posted on 24-07-10. Can you please post more about the legal framework which makes you, so honourably, pay yr. workers decently? Our local agencies have just been rated as outstanding by CQC!, when we get less than 25p/mile and all excuses are good not to pay before 15 ninutes or above if that's the allotted time per client. We also pay for uniforms. Thanks.
15th Nov 10 09:11

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angryanddisappointed.com

Before I read this I thought I was alone, I cant believe in this modern age that this should still be allowed to go on. I agree with the last post about having little options to find another job whilst having kids at school. These agencies will always have a supply of desperate people who want to earn a decent living and stay of benefits, but will continue to have a high turn over of staff due to poor working conditions.
12th Nov 10 06:11

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0

honestworkingmum

I have exactly the same working conditions and they are getting worse since a well-known corporation took over. They are now restructuring the pay rates that in fact reduce our wages considerably. I love the work and have very good relations with clients, however cannot find any other work that is flexible around school hours.
12th Nov 10 06:11

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0

Jade

You have my sympathy shakira. I also work in a residential home and the situation is the same minimum wage,awful hours and spending my own money on petrol to subsidise visits to various activities and numerous doctors/hospital visits. I fear care work has become the most under valued employment. Love my job and helping the clients. But dislike the pay and lack of recognition for the experience and training we do so that we can do the best for our service users.
26th Oct 10 09:10

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1

shakira

I agree 100% with everything you say as have worked as a home carer myself. Now I work as at a learning disability care home and the situation is as equally bad. We are expected (told) to use our own cars and petrol to ferry service users around, to their activities,college or merely visiting friends/family which entails a 30 mile round trip some days. No refund on petrol as the manager says that the mileage allowance was abused in the past so now noone gets any. At just £6 an hour I fear that when my old car packs up I definetly cant repair or replace. Care work is slave labour. I care about my service users but am basically working long hours for little money. Feel like I am just a free taxi.....
23rd Oct 10 11:10

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Magdala

Seainland, can't do much from here, but big hug for yr courage and humanity.
22nd Oct 10 02:10

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seainland

I've just resigned after working for 2 and a half years in care. Earning £4.8 some days was just too terrible. There'd be short 15 min breaks to drive between clients which I'd not be paid for, so by the time I'd calculate my hours out of the house, eg: 7 hours I'd only be paid for 5 hours. I tried to offer the best service possible to clients. One chaps wife died minutes before I arrived. I called the EMT to write a death certificate, called the mortuary to take away the body, called friends to sit with the husand. Of course I was longer than my assigned 1/2 hour call. But what did I get paid???!!!! Just the standard £3.20 for half an hour.
16th Oct 10 05:10

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robert

I am having the same experience as the writer of this article. Just finished my first week, where I've worked for 3 days and earned about £50.

The company I work for is a franchise, and looking at their website (and business websites), a very profitable one.

The care industry is repellent. Allowing private companies to compete for contracts does not drive up standards, it drives down wages because companies compete on cost. Lower wages, lower standards, and high profits for a few.
1st Oct 10 10:10

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0

Magdala

Netheonejust picured my next tax return in your figures and am already seeing red. We need to empower ourselves, How about setting up our VERY OWN UK/county website so that we can be counted? I don't think there are only a few thousand of us. We can still stay anonymous, of course. But the more we are in one place, the easier to be spotted and achieve "news/TV/media value. We can flood wih emails trade unions, MPs, CQC, Age Concern, Help the Aged who seems genuine about elderly care but still refuse to accept that the person behind the cared for is the care worker. I do not mean occasional e-mails, I mean tons of them.
Demand that we are are classified as home/domiciliary carers. One of the means to hide our existence and exploitation is to "loose" us in the Health and Social/residential/nursing care sector.
-Join a union. I like that my membership fee is based on my earnings and thus affordable, but still I feel that not even the unions are giving us the distinction we need. However, when it gets nasty, they can help us.
Record in the daily report when late and why, when client complains etc. AND quote Rights to dignity, respect etc. These records are legal documents and evidence. Council cut to 15 minutes a call to a client. Not been reassessed by SS for 2 years, social worker did not know client was bed-ridden!When the commode is needed, end of 15 minutes. It takes me double to clean, change pads, serve tea but lucky if I get 15 minutes paid. Well, I specified in the record that in order to respect the right to privacy,dignity and choice of client as per council and company's guidelines and Carers' Code of Practice, the call was longer than the allotted time. No senior has got back to me yet, although they have seen the record.
30th Aug 10 12:08

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0

netheone

cont-: £3000 approx spent on fuel last year, £400 approx mileage allowance £1960 approx reimbursement of expenses...the outstanding amount is what I have had to pay for myself to visit the company's clients from my wages. If I was to work in a shop I would not have to pay towards stock, If I worked at a surgery I would not have to pay towards the clients prescription, if I was to work in a nursing home I would not have to pay towards the clients rent, So why then should I have to pay my company to visit their clients. My reimbursement of expenses is added onto my wages on my p60 (not taxed I might add) so to top it all I had my working tax credit taken off me as my p60 tells them I earned £1960 extra ???????? and also I can't get a mortgage because of the job I do, so much for KEY WORKERS. Were is the incentive to go to work, I'm better off on job seekers allowance. I also have an issue with the all company's policy's itself, which pays me a little bit more per mile to visit private patients than it does to visit social service clients.  My vehicle does not understand the difference and it will consume the same amount of fuel irrespective of who in paying the bill.  
Many care company's benefit from the good will of cares to do the job. To which we all do. This is abuse on be half of the company's that will not paid a fair wage for a fair days work. I have now joined the union as I got a 'get stuffed' from my company for asking for a rise in fuel.
27th Aug 10 05:08

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Bo

All I can say is I agree 100% with every comment these people are saying on here, I myself am a male carer in home care being in the job for 4 yrs now and love it, never yet found a company in this line of work that repects the carer or even the client, cqc an government have regulations in place for social care, where as care companies of various discriptions would rather spend their money on employing solicitors on finding the loop holes in these regulations of how they can get away with things an run just on the border lines of these regulations with out getting into trouble, instead of running a secure company that benefits the carers an more so the clients an still make a profit.
The Government needs to revalue the regulations in social care, cut the loop holes out, and make sure all the monies and free tax allowances that these companies get is used for what it was intended for, the whole system is in a mess an needs fixing, that way the clients will get the service they are entitled to instead of what they are getting now, and the carers get the help an support that they are entitled to for the very demanding and stressful job that they cheerfully do everyday to the best of their ability.
19th Aug 10 01:08

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Anonymous

Continued--Companies that are part of a franchise or with limited hours (which could well be the one in the article) would never be able to afford mileage allowance to staff. This is because pay rates from councils are so low. The fact is that most agencies pay home care workers over half the amount of money paid to them from the council which is supposed to cover all costs including office staff wages, business premises, internet access, changing standards to paperwork and policies, franchise fees if applicable and the list goes on and on. Also agencies are forced to pay an ongoing percentage of their income (not gross profit) for the electronic method of payment/booking of visits earlier noted (which is far more complex and open to errors than time sheets etc) even though it has already cost them more in computer hardware, internet usage allowance and technical support. This was introduced due to the government applying pressure to councils who are in the red every year due to lack of funding. Ironic.
28th Jul 10 11:07

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Anonymous

Having worked heavily in the home care sector I can say that there are some very good agencies and a lot of sub par ones as well. This is a management and company specific problem and should not be addressed to hard working agencies. Electronic bookings/payment have not been introduced by agencies but by councils. This was supposed to stop things such as fraud/claiming for visits which care workers/agencies did not go to but quickly it became apparent it was a cost cutting scheme which I will explain later. Some councils that are losing money will not pay for “Extra Time”. Also when a care worker accidentally does not stay long enough for a visit (some councils work to the second, others work on time bandings) the agency does not get paid the full amount for the visit so this system suites them perfectly. Unfortunately this means the agency has to pass this cost on to the care worker otherwise they would in-fact run at a loss. When an agency offers mileage allowances they either pay less per hour for visits or have a huge amount of contracts to afford it, they are few and far between (and very lucky/worked very hard to get to that position). Continued next comment.
28th Jul 10 11:07

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StevieM

I set up a Home Care Agency in Gloucestershire in 2004 and am always shocked when I read comments like these. Not all employers are the same! Ask around and find a decent company to work for. In the meantime contact the Care Quality Commission and let them know what is really going on (www.cqc.org.uk). We pay travel time and 40p mileage. By staying with the bad emplyers you are propping up the system. Find a good employer and stick with them. If need be get on a waiting list to join them!
24th Jul 10 11:07

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Anon

Not only are home care workers badly paid but the Council is now trying to cut pay and conditions to the minimum,reducing petrol claims when petrol is going sky high,home care workers may as well pay for the priverlage of doing the job as we spend so much of our time and money d
21st Jun 10 09:06

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Jo

I am in exactly the same situation, I think it is an absolute disgrace that an employer should expect us to work like this. The clients are deffinately not being cared for properly, almost to the point of being abused in my opinion and if you say anything to the management nothing is done about it. Also some carers pretend to do the job when really things are left for the next carer who goes in and has to do what they have left plus their own work. This in turn makes you run late and the cycle carries on all day. Can no one with any kind of authority open their eyes and see what is going on out there? NO....because it's all down to making money and if people suffer, they don't care. My health has deteriorated through doing too much work in too little time, I can't take much more and I am off sick now through it. Who cares? no one!!
27th May 10 06:05

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oirj

To the person with the parking problem. I can tell by how you worded your gripe that you are as thick as they come. I won't explain. Just read it, (if you can read). If not, get someone to read it back to you. Then think... Ahhhh yes.. indeed I am, really, really stupid..
7th May 10 09:05

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Andy

I am a low paid courier working 55 hours plus per week for minimum wage. My wife, however, has just returned to care work (something she loves) and I often find she is working the same hours as me but only being paid for half. I honestly believed I was hard done to, but my wife (and many more besides) are seriously having the P*!$ taken out of them. As far as I am concerned, if she is out of the house for eleven hours, she should be paid eleven hours, less the hour dinner break. In response to your brilliant weekly gripe letter, I would like to say "yes" i'm angry. Surley there is a law against this dispicable behaviour. It truly is a disgrace.
7th May 10 09:05

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Marie

I was working for a Home Care agency in Bristol until February this year. I couldn't agree more with the comments on this page. I was with the agency for almost a year and they were so incredibly incompetent it was beyond belief. Double booking clients, missed calls and constant harrasment, begging you - and at times threatening you, that if you couldn't help them out covering this 'emergency' then it would be doubtful if they would be able to find work for you next week!....
I once had a phonecall at 6.30am in the morning one Saturday from one of the co-ordinators asking why I wasn't at the agreed meeting place to meet another carer for the morning double up rounds. I then proceeded to tell her that as no one had called me to ask me if I was available to work the weekend, I assumed that they had the rota covered. It turned out that my name was written on the board on Wednesday, but no one from the office called to ask me if I could work! I was obviously expected to have a sixth sense and know exactly who I was supposed to be meeting and where. I had made no provision for anyone to look after my son, so I just couldn't go to work. The office were unable to find anyone else to help with the round and the Care Assistant agreed to work a round which MUST take two carers on her own, using the hoists when the office said they were prepared to pay her double time! It's an absoultue disgrace. No regard for the well being and safety of the clients. Bullying and harasment of staff, poor wages, overwork...the list goes on and on. I was so demoralized and depressed by the conditions and although I loved working with the clients and got real satisfaction in trying to make their day a little brighter, I just couldn't take the stress anymore. Something needs to be done fast about these agencies, they are just out for themselves and a money making racket!
3rd Mar 10 10:03

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Mel

I work as a Home Care Assistant and I completely agree with you. I am extremely low paid. 6.50 an hour, and most of my clients are for only half an hour, which makes it 3.25 for each client I see. I am not paid while travelling between visits. Sometimes I am given 15 minutes and sometimes even less time to get from one client to the other. The clients are located all over ther borough and it takes a lot longer than 15 minutes to travel from one client to the other. The company I work for do not care about the clients or the carers. You get no benefits whatsover where I work. They do not tell you the truth when you apply for the job and attend an interview. I am sure that if they did tell prospective employees the truth they would not be able to recruit anyone. I honestly feel that I would be better of on the dole. Every month it is a struggle trying to manage on the wages I receive. It's an absolute disgrace that they could pay people this wage. You would not pay a school leaver the salary that I get. I am currently looking for a new job. I enjoy the job that I do, and I have become very fond of my clients, but I just cannot live on the salary I get as a Home Care Assistant. The government/employers/agencies really do need to look into this and start paying Home Care Assistants a decent wage.
22nd Feb 10 11:02

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anon

my sister works for careforce, she loves the clients and the work she does. she too, as stated in the gripe above, only gets paid for the time spent in the clients home, she often sets off to reach her 1st call for 7.30am, works until 10.30pm with only ^2 hours break in between for meals and rest. she has to pay the added premium on her car insurance for using her car for business use (which she has to provide documented proof to careforce) and considering she's a relatively new driver and under 25 it's not cheap (her insurance premium increased by around £250), she has to pay for all the fuel and badly managed rota's mean that she will often pass the home of the call after the one she is on her way to, she comes out with £6.14 p/h for approx 7.5 hours work so after tax and NI deductions she is left with around £35-38 per day of which she will spend £10,-15 on fuel equating to £20-25 per day for 15 hours work and from that she has to pay her insurance of £140 p/m. it's wearing her down, she's 19 but looks exhuasted most of the time.
19th Jan 10 12:01

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vikki jayyy

I am appauled at this and thought that being a home care worker would be helping the elderly, if this is how you get treated then I give up hope on everyone who is taking on for this job, shame on you...
12th Jan 10 10:01

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anon

(cont..) I am coming to the end of my tether trying to both keep staff, fight for the right for them to be paid properly and to try and stop the office bundling far too many calls into a crazy time slot. I work on average 55-65 hours a week (normally covering for carers who simply just quit the job). At times I feel powerless to help the carers who leave, many excellent ahrd working carers. But changing the companies policies/pay structure is just an ongoing saga. As I deal with clients on a day to day basis and social workers, many are just oblivious to just how bad the system is. They simply cant understand why carers come and go and I am paid to "explain in a diplomatic manner" the job just wasnt for them (but makes me angry as I would like to tell them the TRUTH) As for Social workers, many must live on another planet, what some expect from a carer on £6 ph is an absolute disgrace too, although to be fair amny are aware of the crumbling home care system. If it wasnt for the fact I actually enjoy my job and I have a mortgage to pay etc.... I would tell my employers they can put the job where the sun dont shine. The sad fact is that all of the carers in my team always do the utmost to give our clients the best possible care and attention, with little or no support directly from the company.. usually from me and my manager (who incidently shares my own views). It is time for a big change to the system, the loacl authorities need to understand (and the government) that cheapest does not equal quality. I know for a fact its simply all about making money and once the clients on the books, who cares if the level of care is rubbish! Its just a good job "some of us" carers actually do, because the Local Authorities and the Government obvioulsy don't!
2nd Dec 09 11:12

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Anon

Firstly thank you so much for sharing your experience and I 100% agree with all your comments. The present state of this so called "care in community" is an absolute disgrace. And I am speaking from first hand experience as I work as a Team Leader for a "well respected" UK Care Agency. In the year and half I have worked for this company (never working in this area previously) I am still stunned at just how bad he present system works. My small care team are fantastic, but unfortunately so many carers come and go - why? .... well the pay and how it works. No travel expenses are paid for carers travelling on buses, they are expected to travel "all over the place", work to meet tight time schedules (which are rarely met). As an example, one carer was expected to go to a clients - pay £2.25 to get there for half an hours work which paid him £3.00. Absolutely shocking???? Who is going to do that?? half an hours work for .075p? .
2nd Dec 09 11:12

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likemyjobasacarer

I agree that the care managers/owners of care companies havent a clue on how to run them, sending carers out to clients on the wrong days etc, etc The gripe for me is that I only get paid for the time there (plus fuel-which is over what I actually spend) and its not great hrs and I have to work 6 days a week to get the best pay I can.but I am rather happy with the pay and I love my job. I have met some lovely clients and see 2 regularly and we have a great laugh while I get the work done. Luckily I dont work for a company that does a ring in system, so dont get caught out for running late on the ringing. And just wanted to say...we are not allowd to except gifts or money and its in most contracts we cant be written into a will...we are not all that shallow!
25th Nov 09 10:11

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Carer

The implementation of this logging in and out nonsense is tantamount to slave labour.
As mentioned in the article, no time is allowed for travelling, which is absolutely unfathomable. How are expected to be at a client’s house at 8.00am for a half an hr call, and then make it to your next call at your scheduled time of 8.30am when it is 10 minutes away? Do the council provide time machines!! So instead of a carer getting paid for half an hr, they get paid for 20mins, and instead of a vulnerable person getting half an hr care they get 20mins. Are these vulnerable people paying the council for only 20mins, are they hell, they are paying for a full 30mins. So if the 10 min travel time is not going to the people doing the job, whom is it going to! The council…. Who incidentally also hire the Care Company who will do the job for the cheapest, hence more profit for them? Not a thought for the carers or the vulnerable people they are caring for! Profit profit profit !!!!!
25th Nov 09 04:11

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adlko

careforce part of the mears group is suposed to be according to their advertisment literature; an effective efficient home care company providing highly trained competent staff. I sufferer from copd a killer lung disease,in 5 years I have had 60 different carers,that speaks for it's self. out of those I rate only eleven carers as suitable to do the job properly. the so called management which has changed many times is pathetic and totally incompetent. anyone knowing this company please blogg your views. adlko
23rd Jul 09 09:07

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concerned.

My girl friend just took a job as a carer 3weeks ago. and I wish she read this.. I cant believe they can pay people the way they do per visit.. because if you divide it down tot he hours they work for real.. they are earning in the region of £2.50 to £3.00 a hour pre tax. not £7 an hour as stated. because if it was actually £7 an hour.. you should be paid fromt he first call to the last call...

I am pretty sure there is a law against that..
4th Jun 09 01:06

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Linda Lou

Yoos personal carers ...one knocked on my door complaining that i'd parked behind her car. I live just opposite the carer's client. She knocked on my door complaining i'd parked too close to her car and that I had a problem. I explained I had no problem but I lived next to my property and I had a right to park there! She was quite aggressive towards me, and considering I apologised she continued to be aggressive!! I will report her to the local council as I'm not an aggressive person...but I have been given no choice as this has not been the first time. These people have NO right to tell me where OR how to park outside my OWN property in my Own parking space!!!! I will report this person to the local authority and hope she gets the discipline she deserves. She ruined what could have been a perfect Easter weekend for me!!!!

Linda
11th Apr 09 05:04

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KT

There are privately owned and run homes and care agencies, these are run as companies. There are regulatory bodies (CSCI to name one) that 'regulate' the companies, they set down certain rules about how many clients are cared for, what standards of care should be met and how, staffing levels etc. The problems are that very rarely do the regulatory inspectors atually see what goes on on the 'shop floor' so to speak. Anyone can write a perfect policy and a procedure to ensure that the policy is met, so on paper everything is A ok. In practice things are very different. There are two main types of service user, those that have the money and assets to fund their own care 'self funding' and then those who's fees are paid by the local authority. Homes and agencies often have a contract with the local authority to take X number of clients for X number of pounds.
The agencies and homes that are privately run are done so as a business, to make money. The 'companies' make X number of pound per week from fees, and then X number a week goes out on outgoings, food bill, staffing bill, electric etc.
So in order to make more money things outgoings must be cut back, as mostly, fees are a set amount. So food is poor quality, staff are not covered, leaving the clients who pay for the service short on care.
10th Mar 09 02:03

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PP

I am one of the unaware. I am unaware because of my lack of knowledge of this subject. Yes I have heard of stories of neglect in care homes.

I think people (rightly or wrongly) assume Care Homes are run by or funded by the government. So the issue is about WHO is responsible.

Reference is made to "the company." What company? If people assume the government are funding the costs it is not helpful to use the words company and government interchangeably.

One way round the problem of poor care in a Care Home might be to place employees of an independent regulatory body within the care homes so that they are on the spot and can monitor practice?
10th Mar 09 01:03

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XXXXX

As with the other care related gripe, the amount of comments really speaks for itself I find, no one really gives a sh*t do they? As long as the money rolls in to the companies and the people who give and recieve the care aren't seen to often then that's ok. Every now and again when there's something in the press you can all jump up and down and make yourselves feel better and say that it's not on, treating vulnerable people like that, and then get on with you lives.
4th Mar 09 06:03

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A carer

Why is it so hard for society to see that the vulnberable members of society and those who care for them are given a very raw deal? Homes and care agencies are run as a business. These are the people who should be targeted, those who make money, and it's not just a bit, they make millions each year, off the back of the vulnerable needing care. They do this by cutting overheads constantly, not providing enough staff to make sure the job is carried out effectively. People then jump up and down saying that our vulnerable members of society are expolited by carers because their needs are not met, without listening to the facts. It is system wide, all areas need to be investigated. Perhaps if there were a cap on the amount a company can make in a year in profit, it would force the rest of the money back into the agency where it is needed, to provide training and equiptment to ensure all the clients care needs are met. As a carer I have come up against a favourite saying of bosses in this sector when you complain "Be grateful I employed you, there are hundreds of people who can fill your spot right now, so stop whining and get on with it". If there are so many people waiting to do the job, why are a lot homes and agencies chronically understaffed? Because it is a hard and demanding job when everything is right, when the carers start to realise that the people they care for and themselves are being expoilted they walk. They are powerless to change anything until society wakes up and realises that. Although there are bad carers out there, many many people do the job because they love the rewards of knowing they are helping people, and the fat cats at the top of the tree are the ones who are making money hand over fist out of this. Come on people, how many rich carers do you know? How many drive big posh cars and have three and four foriegn holidays a year? Not many.
1st Mar 09 04:03

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Alzheimer's Folly

Dead users of their services don't complain too much. And those especially with dementia hardly complain at all.
22nd Feb 09 07:02

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Alfie.

KT is right - home carers working for a care providing agency are ABSOLUTELY NOT allowed to recieve gifts of any kind from the service users.
Some of these agencies are charging the service user (or the council, on the S.U'S behalf) in the region of £60 per hour. And yet the carer gets only £6 - £7 of that. And the client gets what is frequently a substandard level of care.
A disgrace all round...
20th Feb 09 02:02

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KT

There are policies and laws in place to prevent that happening, and it's not as common as you may think, as the companies do not want their names to a case of financial abuse, because that is what it is, therefore they prohibit the carer from taking gifts of any kind from the service user, whether alive or dead. For example my Nan wanted to give her carer £20 in a Christmas card last year, the carer insisted she could not and would not take it, and explained that she could be sacked for doing so. So my Nan bought her some wine and chocolates instead, which the carer also said she could not take for the same reasons. My Nan contacted the care provider and they said the same thing.
18th Feb 09 07:02

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No Gifts

Home care workers especially if they work for rich old bustards frequently get left huge sums of money in their former customer's wills when they die. This practice has got to be stamped out, as completely unprofessional. Home care workers are simply exploiting the gullibility of the old.
18th Feb 09 06:02

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KT

That is absolutely true, care workers and their elderly clients are shamelessly exploited for money, pure and simple. It is disgusting, why are people allowed to make millions in profit while not actually providing the service they are being paid to? This problem is system wide and needs urgent attention to stop the vulnerable being exploited. Thank you for bringing attention to this, there is a similar gripe on here with half a dozen comments, just goes to show where society places the care of their elderly relatives doesn't it?
17th Feb 09 10:02

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