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Working for a provider

You could choose to work for a provider and there are many benefits of doing so, such as:

  • You will be employed by the provider and will be covered by their insurance
  • You will probably receive training from the provider to make sure that your skills are up-to-date
  • The provider will be responsible for finding you work - they will be undertaking marketing to get clients, which means that you don't have to
  • You will have someone there to intervene should something go wrong, or to fight on your behalf
  • You should get regular supervision and so have the chance to discuss difficult cases, or talk through your clients' care plans with someone else
  • Providers are generally experienced in employing staff; this means that they know how to follow current employment legislation and they have policies and procedures
  • The provider will be responsible for receiving the payment from the client; this means that whether or not they have been successful in getting this payment, you should receive your salary

Often those working for a provider will be called a Care Worker, Domiciliary Care Assistant or Support Worker.

Take home pay

Effectively the provider is taking all of the responsibility in terms of getting clients, managing the rota, training staff, providing supervision and getting the money in, and in return they're taking a significant cut of the hourly rate. So, in most cases, if you're working for a provider you would be paid a lower hourly rate than if you worked directly with the client. However, you have less of the costs - generally you only need to factor in the costs of the petrol/diesel to and from your first and last client each day. Try our Salary Wizard to see how the different models compare.

Contract changes

With personalisation and personal budgets, providers are having to change the way that they run their businesses. Previously, most providers got the majority of their business through Local Authority contracts, meaning that they had large number of hours guaranteed each month. With personalisation, they now have to sell their services directly to individuals. This means that knowing how many staff they need at any one time is more difficult and so some are moving towards having zero-hours based contracts for staff, or bank staff - the result being that you get paid for the hours that you work, but the provider won't guarantee you a certain salary every month.

Choice

One of the great options of being self-employed or employed directly by the service user is that you get to choose your clients. Everyone gets on better with some people than others, and with personalisation one of the key benefits is that service users can choose people that they get on with to support them, but equally the paid carer gets some choice over who they work with.

Some of the really good providers do give their staff some degree of choice over who their clients are, but the reality of managing rotas etc, means that this choice for paid carers will often be limited.

The best will thrive

Although choice is likely to be limited for provider-employed staff over who they support, the same cannot be true for service users. If they are paying the bill (whether with their own money or with a personal budget), they should, and will, expect some choice over who supports them.

So those paid carers who are the best, will be in demand from clients and therefore will be able to guarantee their hours; equally those that aren't good, won't get work.

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