• 25 May 2021
  • 7 min read

What You Need To Know If You’re Thinking Of Becoming A Carer

  • Alison Cooper
    Live-In Carer
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 184
"There are important distinctions between working as a Carer for an agency, for a care home, or as self-employed Carer. The key differences are around location, salary, terms and conditions." - Alison Cooper, Live-In Carer

Live-in Carer, Alison, outlines the role of a Carer and explains the pay rates, salaries and important distinctions Carers can expect when working in different settings.

Topics Covered In This Article

What Is A Carer?

What Locations Do Carers Work In?

What Salary Do Carers Get Paid?

What Employment Terms Do Carers Work Under?

What Are The Job Prospects For Carers?

What Tasks Will I Do As A Carer?

A Note For Self-Employed Carers - Find Out About Carers' Insurance

Questions Carers Should Ask When Choosing A Care Agency To Work For

What Is A Carer?

A Carer helps a client with personal care i.e. administering medications, washing, dressing, cooking, cleaning, shopping etc.

Each client's needs differ.

Some clients will need more care than others, some will need 24-hour live-in care, others will need a Carer to visit on a regular basis, daily or weekly.

It is vital to understand that you are caring for the vulnerable, for people in need - you must ensure that your care effects them in a positive way, that your help benefits your clients.

If each encounter with your client has a positive and beneficial impact, then you are a good Carer.

There are important distinctions between working as a Carer for an agency, for a care home, or as self-employed Carer. The key differences are around location, salary, terms and conditions.

Let’s look at these differences in detail.

What Locations Do Carers Work In?

Agency care work

Agency work is split into either working in a client's home either daily or live-in. daily care involves visiting clients in their own homes, for morning, midday, afternoon, and evening calls. You will need to be able to drive and own your own car.

Live-in care

Live-in care involves staying at a client's home for several weeks at a time. Working in a care home will ensure you work at the same location every day but may involve shift-work and / or working unsociable hours, this ensures staff are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Private or self-employed

Private care work means YOU decide where you work!

What Salary Do Carers Get Paid?

When you work as a Carer for an agency or a care home you will be paid through PAYE. That means your employers will specify how much you are paid per hour and deducts income tax and National Insurance from your salary.

The hourly rate for a Carer in the UK is often the National Minimum Wage.

This varies depending on your age, from £8.72 to £8.36 per hour.

The average annual salary for Carers in the UK ranges from £17,000 for a trainee to £31,000 for more experienced Carers.

Private / self-employed carers get to decide how much they are paid. On average a live-in Carer will earn £800+ per week with all living expenses (food etc.) paid for by your employer.

If you visit daily or weekly the hourly rate is approx. £15 per hour. You will not receive holiday or sick pay. You will be self-employed and will need to invoice your client regularly.

You will also need to declare your earnings annually by filling in a tax return online. You can complete the tax return yourself or hire a bookkeeper for £150 or less (per year).

What Employment Terms Do Carers Work Under?

If you work as a Carer for an agency or care home your employment terms and conditions will be specified in your employment contract. This will set out who you work for, where you work, the hours you work, the jobs you do and how much you are paid.

If you are a private (self-employed) Carer then you work directly for your client. So you decide who you work for, where you work, how many hours you work, the jobs you do and how much you are paid.

What Are The Job Prospects For Carers?

Fantastic! There is a ''care crisis'' in the UK whereby there are more people needing care than there are Carers available.

We have an ever-increasing number of people needing care in the UK due to the ''baby boom'' from 1946 to 1964 (a higher-than-average population increase following World War Two).

This generation are fast approaching 75-years old and will require care for many years to come.

Therefore, there is a lot of work available in the care sector now and will be for many years to come.

What Tasks Will I Do As A Carer?

There is really no limit to the jobs you will be required to do as a Carer; it is for you to decide which jobs you are willing to do.

Regular daily/weekly visits require:

Administering medications, washing, dressing/undressing, preparing meals, housework, shopping. (There is also a long list of tasks you cannot do as an agency Carer e.g. cutting nails, washing hair, speaking to relatives - these will vary by agency).

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Live-in care:

There really is no limit to the number or types of jobs you will be asked to do as a live-in Carer and it is up to you to decide if you are happy with them or not. Whether you find a live-in post through an agency or independently, the requirements of each post will be incredibly varied. (I was once offered a job which required me to keep the horses out of the kitchen!)

The tasks you do as a Carer will change with each employer.

Personal care is always tailor-made or bespoke.

As all people are different, the needs of all clients are different.

There is no ''one size fits all'' care package.

Plus, the needs of your clients will change as their circumstances change.

You need to understand that most of the time, you will be caring for people at the end of their lives with terminal and/or debilitating illnesses, which will worsen as time goes on.

If you would like to dive into much more detailed information about the tasks expected of someone working in home care, you’ll love this article!

A Note For Self-Employed Carers - Find Out About Carers' Insurance

If you are self-employed, it is advisable to purchase Carers' insurance for approx. £100 per year.

Carer's insurance offers public liability cover in case of accidental injury (person or property), legal expenses cover in the event of a liability claim errors or omissions in administering care or medication.

Questions Carers Should Ask When Choosing A Care Agency To Work For

There are thousands of care agencies in the UK, and it is difficult to tell which are good or bad.

It is a good idea to ask the following questions and compare between agencies:

● If I use my own car to travel to clients, do you pay expenses for petrol and/or vehicle wear and tear?

● If so, what is the pence per mile rate?

● How far will I be required to travel between clients if I am covering regular daily and weekly visits?

● What are the working hours i.e. what are the earliest and latest call times?

● What is the hourly rate and how long will I need to be employed for my hourly rate to increase?

● How long will I work alongside (shadow) another employee before I am required to work alone?

● Do I need to work a minimum number of days or hours per week?

● Do you offer any opportunities for training?

● If you pay for training, how long after the training do I need to remain employed in order that the training expenses will not have to be repaid when I leave?

● Will a uniform and PPE be provided?

● Does the company provide sickness and holiday pay?

● How will the agency communicate with me?

● Will I need a mobile phone and laptop?

Here’s more information if you’re looking for a home care agency for the first time.

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Do you have any questions about working as Carer?

Ask Alison your questions below

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About the author

  • Alison Cooper
    Live-In Carer

I am 60 this year and proving that you are never too young to start a new career! I worked as a graphic designer for 40 years and moved into care when Covid hit. I have worked in a variety of home care jobs: agency domiciliary care, private PA / personal daily domiciliary care and now I am a private live-in carer. All three set-ups have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is impossible to know which will suit you until you try them.

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  • Alison Cooper
    Live-In Carer

About the author

  • Alison Cooper
    Live-In Carer

I am 60 this year and proving that you are never too young to start a new career! I worked as a graphic designer for 40 years and moved into care when Covid hit. I have worked in a variety of home care jobs: agency domiciliary care, private PA / personal daily domiciliary care and now I am a private live-in carer. All three set-ups have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is impossible to know which will suit you until you try them.

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