Future Social Care Coalition

Sarah Yourston

“In the years I’ve worked as a domiciliary care worker, I have seen scores of people leave the job saying how much they enjoyed the work but… …biggest reason for people leaving- no paid travel time or for gaps in the rota.

This results in less than minimum wage…illegal but widespread. I get sent 17 miles away for one call of 2 hours ie £21.00. No mileage is paid…would you do it?

On another day I am sent 10 miles for a 1-hour call. again no mileage or travel time was paid. I believe there would be a drastic improvement in staffing rates if pay and conditions were fair and legal.

Obviously, the knock-on effect of improved staff retention would be huge and would address some of the other issues that carers face. At one employment, I would be hounded in my time off or A/L to come into work. Even when I said no they would continue all avenues including Facebook messenger to get hold of us and we felt guilt-tripped.

At one time I was starting work at 6:30 in the morning through till 10.30 pm at night with two hours off for lunch. Not including the lunch break was 14 hours of which I would be 200 xxx paid for around 10 of those, the rest would be driving unpaid. I once did four days running like that. I slept in my car in the lunch break to have the energy to continue to the end of my shift.

Just before Covid was announced I became very ill during one of those long day shifts. All the symptoms of Covid. I telephoned my work to say I would not be able to do the 4 to 10 shift that day. They called me back later to say I would have to as they could not get cover. Fair pay = improved retention rates = solution to the above issues.”