You may have heard stories about carers being paid less than the minimum wage, not getting paid for certain parts of the job at all and about the dreaded zero hours contracts. Be aware that some of which you read will be wildly inaccurate. If you are considering taking up a career as provider of home care services it’s a good idea to first get as much accurate and relevant information as you can about your legal working rights.
What is the Hourly Rate of Pay?
Those aged 25 and over are legally entitled to the National Living Wage which is £7.83 per hour. Younger workers should receive at least the National Minimum Wage which is the same figure for those aged 25 and over and:
- Age 21-24 – £7.38
- Age 18-20 – £5.90
- Age under 18 – £4.20
You should never be paid less than the legal rate. Be aware that some live-in care posts are self-employed which means that your hourly rate of pay may be reduced to take into account your paid for board and lodgings.
You may still be entitled to benefits such as Universal Credit or Tax Credits in certain circumstances. Speak to a local benefits office worker or look on www.gov.uk.
Your Rights as an Agency Worker
These are exactly the same as any other employee in relation to working conditions with often flexible hours and full training provided. To qualify for full rights you will usually have to complete a period of 12 weeks on the job.
Maternity Leave, Sick Leave and Holidays
Everyone, regardless of the job they do is entitled to certain rights regarding the above in order to protect their own health and work/life balance.
Statutory Maternity Leave is up to 52 weeks and you may be entitled to up to 39 weeks statutory maternity pay. Check with your employer on the exact terms.
Parental Leave can be used to take time off, usually unpaid, to look after your children up to the age of 5, as long as the care required is proportionate to the needs of the child.
Statutory Sick Pay of £95.85 weekly is payable – after the first 3 days – to employed people including those on zero hours contracts but not to the self-employed.
Workers are entitled to time off for emergencies involving dependents – children, spouse, partner – but are not entitled to be paid for this.
Everyone over the age of 18 is entitled to rest breaks at work, either a 20 minute break if you work more than 6 hours a day; 11 hours rest between standard working days or a weekly rest of 24 free hours per week or 48 free hours per fortnight. The terms of your employment contract will dictate whether or not you will get paid for rest breaks.
Rewards Along With Rights
Along with basic employment rights providing in home care is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers you could have and comes with training and qualification advancements so is well worth considering.