A care business owner knows the importance of the right employees.
Good caregivers are patient, compassionate and respectful. With the right employer, they can thrive – meaning their clients will receive the quality service they need. With increasing pressures put on care businesses across the UK, it's vital that you get your recruitment and employee contracts right to find and then retain the best people you can find.
Recruitment in the care profession
Recruitment has always been a challenge in this sector, and the Covid pandemic has exacerbated the issue. Over 40,000 people joined the UK homecare workforce over the last 12 months. However, rising costs of living and Brexit's impact on EU workers is creating a shortfall – the government has allocated over £160m to try and tackle the issue. Still, there could be more shortages in the near future as care workers must now be Covid vaccinated to work in the profession, and some people are against these vaccinations.
This all makes it even more critical to attract, then secure and retain the best possible staff to your care business, whether you are running a domiciliary care organisation or managing a care home.
By communicating your company's values and providing new recruits with job satisfaction, security, and training, you are in a good position to ensure your team remains a strong one.
What to include in a care worker contract
Once a job offer has been accepted, an employment contract is a document that confirms all aspects of the role: the duties, conditions, hours, expectations, salaries and benefits. It must be signed, by law, by both parties. It will include the employer’s name, employee, pay and location of work, and hours and notice periods at its most basic level. But a detailed contract covers off more information to provide more reassurance to the new employee, written security for the employer, and less risk of confusion at any point in the future. Here are some of the elements that should be included in a comprehensive care employee contract.
Contract start date and care worker hours
By law, the commencement date of the contract needs to be specified. Following that, the hours, whether they are flexible, the working breaks, and the probationary period agreed, along with the notice required before either party chooses to end the contract. It is also important, particularly operating in the care profession, to specify any out-of-hours work required and confirm any business rules around clocking in or out. All holidays need to be included and details around bank holidays and religious holidays that have been agreed.
Compensation in a care employment contract
The basic salary should be outlined along with any benefit programmes and holiday pay rates – it is advisable to include a clause around holiday pay should an employee leave with holidays remaining. If there is a pension scheme in operation, this needs to be included – and if not, you will need to enrol your employees into an auto-enrolment pension scheme to comply with current pensions legislation. Holiday and sick pay need to be confirmed in an employee contract, along with pay rates and insurance required for out-of-hours or last-minute duties.
All details around notice periods, termination agreements, gardening leave etc., should be detailed in full, so in the case of someone leaving in the future, there is no confusion around rights and timings.
Contract of employment: legal aspects
Confidentiality, non-solicitation agreements and conflicts of interests cover important details around privacy, loyalty, and honesty. By outlining this upfront, all parties can be more reassured of an open and trusting working relationship.
The new employee contract needs to be signed by the employer, the employee and dated. Copies are then given to both parties.
By ensuring your employee contracts give as much clarity as possible, your new employees are starting their employment with you on the surest footing. This then empowers them to focus on the task at hand – providing a professional, caring service to your clients and vital to the wellbeing of them and your business.
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