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Hiring a carer in 2023 – what you need to know

If your needs are becoming harder to manage on your own, but you want to stay in the comfort of your own home, it’s time to look at hiring a carer. There are an overwhelming number of options out there. Whittling down your choices will depend on what kind of care you need and how often you will need assistance. Consider what day-to-day activities you would like help with or if you would like someone to assist you when you leave the house.

Here are a few key things to think about before you start recruiting.

Hiring options

If someone is coming into your home to care for you, they need to be qualified, professional and someone you can get on with and trust. There are different ways to hire a carer which have their own pros and cons.

Local authority

No matter your level of need, it’s always worth seeing what help is available through your local authority. Some local authorities will arrange and pay for your care, managing the entire process for you. In this case, you don’t have to accept the carer they assign to you if it’s not the right fit.

Most local authorities have a register of carers and personal assistants that can be made available to you. You can browse for yourself and get helpful recommendations. This helps you get over the hurdle of recruitment, as the register is full of carers that are actively looking for employment already.

Care agencies

There are many care agencies out there. Some provide carers who visit at specific times of the day while others provide live-in care options. With an agency, you will have less control over the staff that visit your home. You may not be allocated a designated carer, which can mean different standards of care from day to day.

However, with this option, the agency is the employer instead of you. They handle recruitment, staff entitlements and welfare, taking the onus off you. They are also able to provide replacements at short notice should a staff member call in sick, find a new job or take annual leave. 

Private employment

Hiring a carer, yourself gives you more choice over the people that are going to care for you. You can pick one carer or a team of carers and will manage their shift patterns to suit your needs. This will provide a consistent level of care and give you more time to get to know each individual. 

However, private employment does carry more risk and responsibility. You will need to recruit using job boards, conduct interviews and handle any problems with performance at work. Sometimes, it’s hard to take on this role when you are the person receiving care and have built a personal relationship with your carers.

Worker entitlements

If you use your local authorities, they can help with the business side of things. This includes creating a payroll, working out taxes and advising on worker entitlements like sick pay and annual leave.

An agency will take all this work on board for you. They will manage staff rotas, holidays and sickness, and they are also responsible for performance reviews and ensuring that the level of care meets your standards. However, this is a service you pay for and will cost more than going through your local authority.

When you operate as a private employer, you need to work these out for yourself. You are responsible for contracts, taxes, payroll and pensions and will need to set a wage for your carers. Often you will have to weigh up the funding available for your care with the wage you are willing to pay. You will need to meet minimum wage at least and be mindful of the current cost of living crisis. If the person you employ has qualifications and experience, they may want more money.

Background checks

Before you make employment official, it’s advisable to obtain references from previous employers and character referees. You also need to make sure your carer has a DBS check for your safety and peace of mind. You can decide whether you will cover the cost of the check, or if this is something you would like them to pay for.

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