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Experiences of care work through agencies?

(13 Posts)
colie Thu 07-Aug-08 20:39:32

Has anyone any experience in being a care assistant for people in their own homes? I was about to start with an agency who advised me I would be paid £6 an hour and could claim back travelling costs from the tax man. I was also lead to believe that I would get 4 hour shifts at a time.

I have now discovered that I would not be paid for travelling time from one client to another and would not get set hours at a time. Does anyone know if this is standard practise within care agencies or do some actually pay you for your petrol and the time it takes to travel out to the people you are caring for?

I don't have any experience in this field so any info or advice would be greatly received. Thanks.

colie Fri 08-Aug-08 10:08:53

Anyone please!! Any experience of working in this field.

ScoobyDoo Fri 08-Aug-08 10:13:29

Hello, i work in this field & have done on & off for 6 years, just gone back into it in april.

Every place is different, have you gone through an agency or have you gone straight to a company that does home care?

Mostly they pay 20-45p per mile, you don't normally get paid from your house to your first job or from your last job home but you do get paid for all the inbetween places you travel.

Your hours depends on the work they have & the staff they have to share it out between, you might not get 4 hours every day, i asked from 9-1pm for 3 days but some days i may only get 9-11.45 etc you can make your money up in evenings & weekends.

Do you have a contract or anything written with regards to your hours?

Which part of the country are you in?

ScoobyDoo Fri 08-Aug-08 10:15:16

You can claim back travelling costs through the tax man you have to keep all petrol receipts (vat ones) & you can put a claim in in april, as we only get 20p a mile (which is crap) we can claim the rest from the tax man at the end of the tax year, you can claim upto 45p.

ScoobyDoo Fri 08-Aug-08 10:15:43

Also i think it is only the first 10,000 miles you can claim so be aware of this.

colie Fri 08-Aug-08 10:25:41

Scoobydoo thanks for replies.
It must be a company that does home care. I am quite annoyed because at the interview she clearly stated £6 an hour. Dh took a day off work for so as he could watch the kids to let me attend their care home for my induction.
When I went out shadowing I discovered they are not paid for travelling from client to client. I didn't expect to be paid for travelling to first client or home from last but did expect to be paid for the rest of the travelling time. Otherwise it works out at less than minimum wage. Not sure how they get away with this.
Also I got a phone call last Monday asking me to go out on one half hour call that night. When I said I was hoping for possibly 4 hour shifts she said I would have to work in a care home for that type of shift!!
I am in Merseyside.
I am going to phone round other care orgainisations and ask for work, just didn;t want to be expecting to get paid for travelling time (and hopefully mileage) if care agencies as a rule don;t pay their staff for that.
Thanks again for taking time to reply.

ScoobyDoo Fri 08-Aug-08 14:02:29

I agree you should be paid your mieage, to be honest you will need it, the miles all adds up & it does cost alot.

You won't get a full 4 hour shift but when applying i would ask if they can offer you most of the hours you would like/ask if they have enough work.

See our calls are 15 mins, 30 mins, 45 mins & 1 hour.

one of my days is like this -

9-9.15 Mrs A
9.15-10 Mrs B
10-10.30 Mr C
10.30-11 Miss D
11.11.15 Mrs E

11.45- 12 Mrs F
12-12.15 Mrs G
12.15- 12.30 - Mr H
12.30-13.00 Miss I
13.00-13.30 Mr J

My day then ends.

I don't normally have gaps in my evenings rounds & mostly quite full at weekends, but i do sometimes have gaps in my week work.

As long as the places you are applying for have the work you should be fine, so before you start i would ask them if they have enough work & also ask them what there mielage & pay is.

I must say that when i first started the first week was more quiet but after that i had alot of work in fact i have had to slow down & turn some down as i am shattered.


colie Fri 08-Aug-08 14:31:56

Hi Scoobydoo, sorry to keep pestering you but I would be greatful if you could answer my next question.
How do you get the time to get from Mrs A to Mrs B to Mrs C etc. I see all your times are together.

I thought I would get something like
Mrs A 9-915
Mrs B 9.30-9.45
Mrs C 10.00-10.45
Mrs D 11.00-11.30

I don't understand how I would get time to get to Mrs B or Mrs D if I was doing your timetable.

The company I was going to work for also make you phone a freephone number when you arrive at clients house and phone it again when you leave at the end of your half hour or hour slot. So it is not as if I could leave one client 10 mins early in order to get to next client in time.

I need to leave clients when the time allocated finishes and then take 10 or 15 mins to travel to next client but I have not to get paid for that 10 or 15 mins it will take me to travel to next client.

ScoobyDoo Fri 08-Aug-08 14:44:20

Hmm yes i see where your coming from, i have mentioned the travelling times but my company have said they can't win either way, if they put travelling times then workers moan aparently & if they don't put them they also moan so they have kept them off for now.

For a single person visit we actaully have 15 minutes either side, so can be upto 15 mins late or early, if say i go into a service user & they only want certain things doing & say it is a 30 minute call & you have done everything they ask in 25 mins & they say there is nothing else required then we can leave.

Never heard of this free phone number thing, the company sounds very odd, i can see why they use the phone number but paying no travel expenses & only £6 an hour is not great.

ScoobyDoo Fri 08-Aug-08 14:46:13

Have you phoned around all the home care places in your area? it really is the best thing to do, i went for about 5 interviews in the end & they all offered me a job, in the end i sort of ignored the money side of things (not totally though) & went with my gut instinct!

willweeversell Fri 08-Aug-08 20:01:13


Part of my job is setting up care packages for clients like the ones being described and I deal with lots of different agencies so can offer a bit of advice.

There is a big difference between agencies both in terms of the way they treat their workers, training, pay, benefits , mileage etc and in terms of the care they expect the workers to deliver.

£6 per hour does seem low to me, around the area I work in the absolute minimum would be about £6.50 for a weekday, day time shift but some agencies pay considerably more than this and it is again much more at weekends or if you are prepared to work occasional nights or bank hols (when I say nights, meaning some clients might ask for 'night sits' where you stay overnight to offer support should they need it) for this type of thing you could end up with £25 per hour.

The best agencies I deal with tend to be the ones which are 'franchises' ie they are a company that is owned by an individual but under the umbrella of a bigger name, this way you get a lot more organisation and they tend to use their staff more effectively which means no massive gaps between clients, decent mileage etc, offer training in manual handling, infection control, bereavement, nvq in health care etc etc. the bigger firms often offer better rates for people who are willing to stick with them and get some experience and the take on more of a supervisory role etc. None of the companies I deal with would expect you to pay for pertol out of your own pocket ^between clients^.

My advice would be to ring around a number of agencies, express your interest and ask questions about pay, training, mileage, some agencies also give you a contract where they guarantee you x number of hours and will still pay you if the hours aren't required, again these tend to be the bigger organisations.

Good luck, its a great job to do if you like helping people and don't mind the personal care side of things.

colie Sun 10-Aug-08 09:24:05

Thanks for taking the time to answer this post ladies.
That has really helped.
Will ring around the agencies in my area and see what the differences are. Thanks again.

Ripeberry Tue 12-Aug-08 20:04:03

Up to February this year i was doing care work for a private agency and had been with them for 9 months.
The shifts i worked were in the evenings and weekends.
Evenings would be from 6.30pm until 10.30pm and i would be doing up to 30 miles a night!
But only got paid 18p a mile!
The pay was quite good compared to other companies £7.10 an hour.
At the weekends i would start at 6.30am and carry on until 2pm, would sometimes have a half hour lunch (in the car).
But i think the company i worked for was not very good as the training we had was rushed and they were always bossing the girls around.
The clients were always unhappy with the company and loads of carers were leaving.
It is a very rewarding job but it can be isolating and you do have to be out at night in some dodgy areas.
In those nine months i've been threatened, hit, almost blown up (gas incident in a lady's house) and had dirty old men tryin it on.
But the good bits always outweigh the bad.
You musn't get too attached to any of them as over 6 of them died in the time that i worked and it used to upset me.
I left in the end, because the company was demanding more hours and my DH was not happy about my working conditions.
Also the company broke rules by allowing ONE person to operate a hoist, the rules say that TWO people have to be present.
They did this regularly.
If you choose a good company then you will have a great experience!
Just don't go for the ones who keep advertising, ask yourself WHY can't they keep their staff?
Good luck.

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