Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Legal rights of a live-in carer

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Legal rights for breaks for live-in carers

Live-in care is when the carer lives in the home with the person they are caring for and provide care whenever is required. This is what makes it the most comprehensive care. Live-in care gives our clients the advantage of full-time care and companionship within their home 24 hours a day. While being a carer is an incredibly demanding, emotional and draining profession, it is also one of the most rewarding. Knowing that you are looking after someone so that they are able to stay in their home, within their community and surrounded by cherished positions and photographs that hold precious memories.

With your care and knowledge, you will be able to help guide your clients through adjustments within themselves that would be difficult to manage on their own. Whether they are dealing with the loss of a spouse, a decline in general health or navigating a recent diagnosis with more serious health issues.

While live-in carers are on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week, everyone needs a break. In terms of daily routine, a live-in carer will work around their client’s wishes and habits, going to bed when they do, getting up around the same time. However live-in carers are entitled to having at 14 hours per week to themselves, this is typically broken up to 2 hours each day. During this time off, carers should feel as though they are able to come and go as they please. However, many clients who require live-in care, are not able to be left alone for long, let along 2 hours a day. This is why most carers will ensure that this break will line up with either a family member visiting or potentially a time when the client will go for a nap. It is important that carers are able to get outside regularly and recharge their batteries so they can provide their clients with the best possible care. This is also why it is so important to work alongside the client’s family, friends and community in regards to their care, so you and the client know that there will always be someone to come and oversee them while you take a break. Every family is different and every placement will be different, working together means you will be able to find a solution that works for everyone.

Caring for someone with a disability, terminal illness or someone who is continuing to decline can mean facing unique issues. You may be coping with your employer or family member’s physical and emotional needs, which can be very tiring and can take a toll on your own mental and physical health. When you are caring for someone, you can’t always avoid difficult feelings and they can stretch even the most resilient person to their limit. Regularly checking in with yourself, ensuring you are able to take regular breaks and even holidays is essential to ensuring you are able to continue caring for your client and not wearing yourself out.

Emotional support is available for carers, there are numerous links to support groups and networks through the NHS website as well as going through your local council. Help for carers can come through a range of different methods, whether that is speaking to someone professionally or a loved and trusted one, taking time to relax or taking a break from caring temporarily.

Legal working hours of a homecare worker

Legally, most professions are not supposed to work more than 48 hours per week. In many industries such as the caring industry, workers can be asked by their employers to voluntarily sign an Opt-Out Agreement which is legal, i.e. you opt-out of the 48 hour limit and agree that you can work for more than 48 hours per week.

The Opt-Out is not a condition of your employment and it must remain optional and voluntary. Therefore, even if you’ve signed your contract with an Opt-Out in place, as a homecare worker you have the legal right to opt back in to the 48 hour limit at a later date – you have to give your employer a minimum of seven days written notice by law to do this (check your contract in case it requires a longer time scale to Opt back in, as this is allowed).

You should not be subjected to any detriment by refusing or proposing to refuse to sign an Opt-Out agreement. If you are an employee and are dismissed because you refuse to sign an Opt-Out clause then this could be an automatically unfair dismissal and you could potentially make a claim to an Employment Tribunal as is your homecare worker right.

Rights of a carer and holidays

All workers in the UK are entitled to a minimum of 28 days of paid leave every year. As a carer, you start acquiring your holiday entitlement as soon as you start a position and it is important to note that holiday entitlement does not include and cannot be counted as weekly rest days. Your holiday pay will be equivalent to what you earn regularly, but it is always a good idea to ensure that all aspects are clearly detailed in the contract. Bank and public holidays can be included in these 28 days; at the moment there’s no statutory right to take bank holidays off and your employer has no legal obligation to ensure that you have used all of your holiday allowances. Please note that the statutory paid holiday entitlement is capped at 28 days. So, if you work six days a week, you’re not entitled to more than 28 days holiday under statutory entitlement.

Respite care is here to fill the gap when you need to step away from your regular care duties while having someone seamlessly take over. Caregiving is a demanding job and everyone needs a break from time to time.

Respite Carers at home are here so you can take a break, go on holiday and come back to your client refreshed, they are here to help carers. Respite carers are able to step into the home and completely take over the duties that you assist with. Whether you require someone full time or part-time, live in or live out, your respite care will be completely personalised to you and your specific needs.

It is important that everyone is able to take a break from their day to day life every now and then, which is why respite care is such an essential part of the care industry. We understand that even though you need to take time for yourself, that does not mean that the care you were giving can go hold. A respite carer is a perfect option for you. A respite carer at home will be able to step into your shoes seamlessly so you are able to take time to yourself, rest and relax. Taking time for yourself is essential to ensure you are able to do any job to the best of your ability without overworking yourself and burning out. Which is why a respite carer is here to support your carer.

How do find a live-care agency?

Knowing where to start your live-in care job search can be overwhelming. This is where consulting an experienced live-in care agency is a good starting point to go from. With an agency, you have access to expert, experienced advice. Agencies also take the hassle of finding and applying to jobs directly, our consultants will work with you and present you with jobs that match the requirements that you have explained to them. Our consultants take the time to get to know you, understand your caring style, what salary you’re looking for and in what areas you are looking to work.

Our consultants are also on hand to help and answer any questions you might have along the way, using a live-in care agency in London like Guardian Carers means you have a direct line to the experts. Not only do you have a direct line during the search, but our consultants are constantly on hand to help with any follow-up queries or concerns you might have once your search has been completed.

Our years of experience within the care industry means we know what is required for carers and clients to be a perfect match, we are looking to help you find a client that you can have a harmonious relationship with.

We pride ourselves on providing a premium level of service to our candidates because we know they will be providing our clients with a premium care service.

Here at Guardian Carers, we pride ourselves on being able to delicately align a premium, luxury service for an aspect of your life that is so personal.

So much so that 95% of the carers we work with result in a happy, long term placement. Using an agency that specialises live-in care like Guardian Carers means you can be sure you will receive support from every side, we will take the stress that comes with trying to find a job and present you with options that perfectly align with what you are looking for. We work with you to find solutions, whatever your needs. To make perfect and seamless placements is Guardian Carers ethos. With Guardian Carers its your care, your home, your way.

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