I have read today about the scandal of care workers not being paid for travel time and on zero rated hours.
People pay 16 per hour to the council, who subcontract to ‘for profit’ companies who pay the workers less than half of this.
Why do people not hire the care workers direct and get more for their money? Why do care workers not make their own rounds of customers up and become self employed? People hire their own domestic cleaners direct why not care workers? I understand this would not be a choice if you do not pay for care but seemingly most people have to contribute something per hour so why not? Anyone got any insight into this?
If you ask me, zero rated hours should be made illegal, disgusting abuse of labour.
10 thoughts on “Question”
I presume we’re talking Green and Pleasant here? OK. It is possible to hire carers via agencies wh may or may not pay better rates. If the carers are qualified nurses the command high rates, but cleaners? No.
From what I can make out an awful lot of the carers are untrained anyway! Why should people use agencies? I just cannot understand why people do not advertise direct, relatives could surely interview them and train them specifically as to what is needed. My sister is disabled now through arthritis and they have both a cleaner and a gardener. Both of which were properly interviewed and have a clear cut plan of action written down as to what will be done when and where! She still teaches at home so things have to be just so round her classes. She pays very well and everyone is very happy! Just can’t understand why more people don’t get it organised properly. Most of the UK seems so disorganised these days. considering the taxes they seem so willing to accept third rate care and medical services.
Hence the reliance on Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Czechs. In the past decade or two there’s been an unfortunate tendency to grow administration but shrink work forces. In order for companies to afford 10 manages and 5 assistants for each they have to underpay those who actually do the work. This is a problem in the UK, but it also exists in Germany.
Ah! Christina – this is something I know about – due to the fact that my mother has had carers for a number of years. What I write here is from personal experience.
A large number of people do not, in fact, pay anything for their carers – those with insufficient income are given ‘free’ care by their local authority, who, because of their financial clout pay as little as possible to the care companies and for the least time that they can get away with. As the care company my mother had recently said to me: they are in business to make money – they are not a charity and thus they use the system to pay as little as possible. Those who do pay, subsidise those who don’t.
Most care companies do not pay for the time carers spend going from one client to another – and often expect carers to ‘magically’ appear at their next job within seconds of leaving their previous job… thus it is the client who is short-changed for the time that the councils or they are paying for.
Some two years ago, the British government slammed the system whereby people were being given a 15 minute call and insisted that the shortest call should be 30 minutes. As my mother so aptly put it: in 15 minutes the carers just about have time to pass people a cup of tea while they are sitting on the loo before having to depart… Nothing has changed – and the care companies are still sending people for a few minutes.
For those who pay their own way, the care companies threaten withdrawal of services if their clients complain… and they can and do blacklist people. They can charge anything up to 20 pounds an hour, 15 pounds for a half-hour call and 10 pounds for a fifteen minute call, and, in my mother’s case demanded a week’s notice to cancel calls… thus, because Mum was bobbing in and out of hospital, she had to pay for three weeks visits, over 400 pounds a week, for calls that she never had. She was then charged two full weeks notice for quitting the company.
She was continually being pressured to accept half hour calls so that the care company could get more money from using their staff twice in an hour. The carers, of course, get paid the minimum wage. Many are students, people working the minimum hours so that they qualify for the government top-up or simply people who do not want to work full-time.
There is a shortage of carers, and the care companies know this and play on it.
Why, you ask, do people not hire their own? The answer is quite simple – the elderly are extremely vulnerable and the care companies guarantee that their employees are properly checked out, and that they will provide a service even when a carer is ill or away on holiday. For many, including my Mum, her biggest fear was that she would not get her carers regularly and on time.
The fact that the vast majority of carers couldn’t even manage to cook an M&S microwave meal, spent most of their time talking about their children or boyfriend problems and often left her to wash up and clean the floors was neither here nor there – she needed to know that someone was coming in four times a day and that there was someone at the end of the phone to berate if no one turned up.
Bo, thank you for the info. The only way therefore to guarantee anything like good private service is to pay so much that they REALLY wouldn’t want to lose the job.
The current crop sound pretty ghastly and fairly useless.
One of the downside issues here is that publicly-employed carers have to belong to unions. Result: a carer can refuse to carry a vacuum cleaner upstairs, citing health and safety!!
Janus, that’s not confined to Denmark. I don’t think UK carers have to belong to a Union – but certainly there are a number of things they ‘cannot do’ because of ‘health and safety… they couldn’t stand on a ladder – hence Mum had to get someone else in to change the light bulbs, etc.
Erm, as far as my professional experience is concerned the most basic nine-to-five bit of the contract started when you fronted up at the office and, excluding lunch, ended when you left having done the requisite eight hours. Having said that, there eventually appeared other flexibilities and compensations in the real world which made life both affordable, rewarding and worth the effort.
That was in the private sector.
Latterly, I spent, because I could afford to and needed something new, a few years working as a commission-only agent where even the hours manning somebody else’s business for free (and spending my own money in time and petrol to do so) was no guarantee of any remuneration whatsoever – which it wasn’t on 99.999999999 percent of days. It was, to use the obvious phrase, exploitation at its most raw.
That was also in the private sector.
What I think I am trying to say is whereas I have every sympathy with exploited care workers and suchlike, it is a big, grown up, dog-eat-dog world out there from which public sector employees in the old sense of the word, who previously thought of themselves as insulated from the nastier elements of capitalism. are increasingly being exposed.
OZ, my experience mirrors yours. To be fair I know people in the public sector who work all the hours it takes to get the job done properly – especially teachers. Oop ere, it is a dact that socialism has conditioned people in both sectors to accept nothing less than milly-coddling. Nobody arrived early at work to ‘prepare’, nobody works more than 7.5 hours and nobody stays late to ‘clear up’. Add to that the concept of equality – which precludes the presence of what you and I would call a manager, and accuracy and efficiency go out of the window. Nobody checks the job is being done right because nobody has authority over the ‘team’. In banks and at the tax office, for example, junior staff make admin errors which are only discovered by the customer! Strange that ecperienced team members don’t keep an eye on juniors out of a sense of duty or pride in the team’s performance.
Excuse the typos above – it’s early! 😲