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When a client dies

When you’re working as a paid carer, there are certain considerations that you might have to think about that are not easy when you have been working with a client for a while. There may come a time when your client can no longer cope at home, even with your help, and they need to move into residential care.

Sadly, there may also come a time when they pass away while you are still working for them. It’s hard to think about anything in this situation, especially if you are particularly close to your client, but it is only natural to worry about how you could be affected financially if you find yourself out of work suddenly for an unavoidable reason.

If you are employed by the client

If you are employed by a client, and the client dies, then this is called ‘frustration of contract’. This is when a contract is terminated due to unforeseen circumstances. For the employee, in this case you as a paid carer, this means that you suddenly find yourself out of work.

Depending on how long you have been employed by the client, you may be entitled to statutory redundancy pay (have a look at this calculator to see what you might be owed). You will also be entitled to any wages and holiday pay owing to you. This comes from the client’s estate, and is something that the executor is responsible for, so you will need to make contact with them to ensure that you get what you are owed.

Redundancy pay and other payments owed also apply if your client is moved out of their home and into residential care.

If you are self-employed

If you work as a self-employed paid carer, then you are not protected by the same employment rights as an employed carer, and this is something that needs to be taken into consideration when making the decision to go self-employed.

You are responsible for your own finances, and your contract is terminated when the client dies. The client’s estate is not liable for any redundancy pay or holiday pay in this situation, however there may be hours already worked that need to be invoiced and paid. The executor of the person’s estate should look through the client’s paperwork for any bills and invoices that need paying and this money is taken from the value of the estate. If you haven’t heard from the executor and you are owed money, then you should find out who the executor is (often a family member) and contact them directly – they can often forget when there is so much to deal with at a time when they are also coping with their own loss.

If you work for an agency

If you work through an agency, then the agency is the employer not the client. This means that if the client dies, the agency can arrange suitable alternative work you. If there is no work available, then it is possible that you will be made redundant from the agency, and the agency, as employer, will need to pay the appropriate redundancy pay, holiday pay and outstanding wages. The client’s estate does not owe any money to you in this situation.

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