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Thread: A whinge, non watch related.

  1. #1

    A whinge, non watch related.

    Right, I just need to let off some steam. I'm not asking for any kind of professional or legal advice, but I'm interested in people's opinions.

    My elder step-daughter works as a carer, basically on a zero hours contract from what I can tell. She's been doing it for a couple of years, has been doing well, and likes her job. She's not the most academically gifted, but is a genuinely caring person - she'd give you the shirt off her back.

    Unfortunately, because of the type of person she is, she does seem to lay herself open to being taken advantage of. The whole zero hours thing seems entirely biased in the company's favour, and she's always the first person they ring when they're short-staffed, which seems to be a constant state of affairs.

    The hours she works are pretty anti-social - she always seems to end up with the early morning and late night calls, probably because no-one else wants to do them. But she's happy enough with that, and as I say she likes her job. However, she is getting a bit fed up with them ringing her up and asking her to cover extra calls for people who, it appears, can't be bothered to turn up. But being the type of person she is, she always wants to help and loves the clients/customers/whatever you want to call them

    The other day, on her day off, she'd done some late calls, finishing gone 11PM. She was tired and switched off her phone before going to bed, so that she could have a bit of a lie-in. When she woke up and switched her phone on, there were 20 missed calls from work. Two Zero. When she got in contact she got the "can you do X,Y & Z" today? Such and such hasn't turned up."

    She's getting to the point now where she's thinking of jacking it in, due to the constant badgering. Now I realise some people are going to say "well nobody forced her into a zero hours contract" but to my mind this is overstepping the mark. I can understand they might ring her once or twice to see if she was available, but 20? That's got to be bordering on harrassment.

    If anyone's got any words of advice other than "tell them to stuff it" they'd be welcome. She really can't afford to give this job up, it's not the best paying job in the world but it keeps her head above water. Of course, if her lazy, shiftless, waste of oxygen partner could be bothered to go out and get a job and support his family it'd be a different matter, but don't even get me started on that..

    Rant over. Thanks for listening.

    Plug

  2. #2
    Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Shit situation. Sounds like she needs to leave her job and her partner. Any other job/partner would be a step up, both would be a whole new world.

  3. #3
    If she is the type of person that thrives off caring for people, maybe consider working with children in a nursery? Fixed hours that you can work around and the likelihood of working unsociable hours is very low.

  4. #4
    Master
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    It sounds like she is very valuable to her employers. Maybe it's time for a letter (maybe drafted by you is she's not that academic) laying out her case and asking for a non-zero hours contract as their default fill-in. She'd still have to work odd hours but she'd been on a fixed number of hours / know income. Alternatively she could make the point how compliant and reliable she is and ask for a raise. No threats of leaving, it doesn't need stating explicitly.

    In parallel it might be worth updating her CV, emphasising how she is her current employer's go-to person and then approaching a few other care providers.

  5. #5
    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    There must be other employers in the same sector in the area? Otherwise, they clearly desperately need staff so she holds some good cards.

    I would arrange a meeting with her line manager and air some concerns. Maybe ask to do one week normal hours, one week unsociable hours? Maybe even ask for a pay rise for doing all the shitty hours?

    Obviously I have no idea what relationship she has with her bosses, but if she works hard and is well-liked then that's gold dust in these feckless times.

    Oh, and she needs to tell the other half to buck his ideas up. I can't stand laziness, but maybe it's something else? Depression? Addiction? Again, I have no idea but have a chat to her about it.

    I wish her luck – it's tough out there

  6. #6
    Journeyman
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    The care industry is largely ran by agencies, who employ care staff almost exclusively on a temporary/zero hours basis for minimum wage.
    Sometimes the clients are easy and enjoyable,
    Sometimes the work can have big responsibilities. The fact is that there is a lot of work available and you can be picky about what you take on. (I have a friend who works in the field) she needs to be more assertive with her current employers and look around for other contracts.

  7. #7
    Craftsman earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    She should train as a nurse - much better pay, much better conditions, she will always have work, and on her terms. And ditch the dickhead, obviously. Good luck to you and yours

  8. #8
    Master
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    She deserves a medal
    The care industry is chronically understaffed and you find after payday has been a lot of sickness time comes in.
    It's just part and parcel.
    The care industry gets a bad rep but there are so many great carers in my experience of the sector.
    I hope she stays and gets some reward for her efforts and also the best thing she can do is keep the phone switched off.

  9. #9
    Craftsman Templogin's Avatar
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    There are some incredible people in the care sector, but they are far from rewarded for what they do. I know someone who tried the job in the midlands. She lasted 2 days, starting very early and finishing late on both days. She couldn't cope with not being able to give the level of care that she wanted to because of the short time that were allotted to clients. She was out with another person who was training her. Although the other person got a mileage allowance, they did not get paid for the time it took them to drive between clients. She said that a lot of the clients just wanted to have a chat and a cup of tea with someone, but no-one, family in particular, gave them the time.

    It's an industry with a high turnover because of the workload these people are put under for pitiful pay. They are foten at risk of injury due to lifting, and have huge responsibilities with giving the clients their medication. Your daughter step-daughter sounds like an absolute star, and could do so much better for herself in many other industries.

    Care should be the primarily the responsibility of the family IMHO, and not that of government.

  10. #10
    Craftsman
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    There's an awful lack of empathy in the world, and people With it seem to often get taken advantage.

    There are lots of carer roles with fixed hours. I know two people with a qualification in social care. They have set hours where they mind people who live in communal living situation. They have some learning disabilities, but not severe enough to require constant care. 3 of them live in a house and look after each other, with her staying over occasionally and checking in on them. She loves it.

    As mentioned, nursing is also a good option but has its stresses too so would defo Be worth a conversation with a seasoned nurse first.

    The partner needs a wake up call. He may currently be a waste of space, but he's still father to your grandkids and they love him as their dad, so ditching him isn't the first option to explore. He still needs to step up, demonstrate good behavior so they grow up with good values and habits.

    Does your daughter have any thoughts on what she might like to do? Stsrt there and work to get a role with more predictable hours.

    If he can't get it together after given a frank talk about what will happen if he doesn't shape up in a reasonable time frame, then yea, more drastic measures may be needed.

    It's tough watching someone you love being taken advantage of, especially if it happens due to their good nature.

    Best of luck

  11. #11
    Master
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    My cousin sounds similar apart from the partner, hers is a too fella.
    She ended up having enough of the zero hours rubbish and went solo on the basis that if it didn't work she could join a different agency.
    Three years down the line she hasn't looked back, more money, better hours and a happier person all round.

    Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Does she need the extra shifts? If she doesn’t then I would suggest she keeps turning them down for a few week then they would hopefully realise they can’t rely on her.

    Perhaps she could also apply for different full time positions.

  13. #13
    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Templogin View Post

    Care should be the primarily the responsibility of the family IMHO, and not that of government.
    Although a worthy sentiment, not exactly practical in many situations where family don't have the finances/training/time available. And what if there is no family?

    It's not simply a case of families sending pops off to the home and forgetting about him. It's because they can't cope.

    Caring for an infirm or sick elderly relative is a full-time job requiring huge sacrifice, giving up work and then jumping through hoops to be awarded a pittance in carer's allowance.

    It's a shit situation for everyone involved but what's wrong is how good people are not being rewarded for doing an important job that hugely benefits society as a whole. There's money being made somewhere.

  14. #14
    Craftsman
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    My workmates girlfriend has worked in care homes for years and a lot of them seemed to run everything on the breadline and work by bullying and taking advantage of the staff, my mrs works in the nhs and your step daughter won’t get a nurses job as they are degree level now but they are always recruiting health care assistants which have fixed hours need less qualifications and have proper contracts

  15. #15
    Journeyman
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    Has she tried talking with management about a clearly defined set of expectations? All too often people leave a role without ever having raised what is making them unhappy.

  16. #16
    Craftsman Templogin's Avatar
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    I cared for my dad was 6 months until he died of lung cancer. I gave up my job with no promise of it being open on my return. I was paid about £45 a week in dole money and £21 a week on careers allowance. I couldn’t do everything. I used to have to call the district nurses in on occasion when there were things he wouldn’t let me do. Twice he had to go into the hospice to give me a rest. I was sleeping in a recliner in the same room as him. He was coughing through the night, so I was struggling to sleep. He would get up to go to use the bathroom upstairs, the stairs being steep, and the secondary cancer had gone into his brain and his balance was shot. Every time he did this I had to jump off the recliner and catch him before he fell.

    I have never been so exhausted, and it is something that I would never take on again.

    If I can do it so can others. I had no care qualifications. It seems that people more often choose not to do it as they are not willing to give up what they have, or not willing to see a reduction in their circumstances.

    As to you step-daughter, willing horses always get flogged, especially those on these iniquitous zero hour contracts, which are supposed to give both sides flexibility, but generally work far too often only to the advantage of the employer. Take the advice of some here and get her to say no thanks to a few shifts. It is the only way that she will be valued.

  17. #17
    Master dickbrowne's Avatar
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    I am afraid I absolutely have something to add to this thread.

    There are, in this world, hero's and users. Most of us sit somewhere in the middle and your step-daughter seems to be leaning toward the desirable end of that spectrum. My sister in law sat in pretty much the same space.

    She also worked in the care industry, she worked long hours giving care to elderly and infirm people in their own homes, 7 days a week and on a zero-hours contract. She would often sleep on the sofa of one of her clients in order to provide care through the night.

    She had a second job, collecting money for the Provident. She often walked the streets around Birkenhead (if you'll pardon the phrase) with a large amount of money on her, which is a risky proposition.

    The reason she worked two jobs? She took full responsibility for her family. She wasn't ever going to set the academic world on fire with her insights into quantum physics, but she never took anything she didn't earn, never relied on benefits and had enough self-respect to graft to keep her family warm, fed and safe.

    Her husband refused to leave the house to work, whenever he was forced to get a job by the benefits people, he would ensure that he lasted just a few days before being fired. His benefits were his and he refused to give any to my sister in law, or contribute to the household bills. In addition, he treated my sister in law like a skivvy, she would come home after an 18 hour day, cook dinner and he would tell her the food was crap and send her out to get him a take-away or McDonalds, which she would pay for.

    Why she stayed with him is a mystery. He turned the kids against her and her life was horrible.

    Last September, they had an argument on the eve of my wife's grandmother's funeral and so my sister in law called my mother in law to say that she was going to do a collection round and then come over and spend the night with my wife and their mother before the funeral. She had taken as much as she could take.

    She was due to arrive around 9:30 PM. She never arrived. At 1am the following morning, my niece called my wife on her mobile to say that the police had just been at the house to tell them that my sister in law had been killed by a man who failed to stop at a red light. My sister in law was 49 and less than a mile from her mum's house.

    Last summer she had bought her daughter and friends to London for a concert. She bought them all tickets, she paid for hotel rooms and she drove them down. They spent the journey being horrible to her and when we met her the following day, they, and her husband, were constantly calling her to criticise her for everything which was less than perfect with the day. My wife and I gave her a nice day out. Bearing in mind that she came from a deprived area of Merseyside, lunch in Eton and dinner in Henley during the last day of the festival was a treat for her and I still remember how happy she was with what we perceive as normality.

    My point is this. Her work, her partner and her setup was horrible. She had a crap life and, we think, had just made the decision to make changes to her life. Having made that decision, her life ended, literally, in hours. What a bloody waste.

    She was lovely, she was a grafter, she was responsible, she saw the best in everyone and did everything she could to make people's lives better. She deserved so much more.

    Your stepdaughter sounds like she deserves more than she is getting. A good job, where she is appreciated for what she does, a partner who appreciates what she brings to the relationship and will contribute equally, in a partnership, is the absolute minimum.

    The moral here is simple - life is short, way too short to be unhappy, taken advantage of or treated like a doormat. If she's unhappy, please help her make the changes.

    Good luck with the situation, it's hard I know, but far better to take the move before it's too late than regret what might have been.

  18. #18
    Craftsman
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    My wife worked as a carer on a ZCH contract for an agency when I met her. For someone who was told they had dyslexia and would never amount to anything other than a benefit grubbing baby machine when at school the wage she got from that (working nights and antisocial hours ) was pretty good, not earth shattering though.
    She moved from agency work to doing the same thing for the local council team on the night shift - this wasn't a great improvement but gave her a pension and maternity pay when we had out son.
    She then started doing bank work at the local hospital and applied for a Clinical Support Worker position and got it due to her significant amount of time 'in country' at the agency.
    The hospital put her forward to do her Nursing Associate Degree which she passed with a distinction and is now looking at moving towards a full nursing degree.

    I would urge your stepdaughter to follow a similar path, certainly move away from the ZCH agency work and get into a local NHS trust as a CSW, it's the same work with far better employment benefits. From there there will be multiple opportunities to better themselves.

    The biggest thing I will say is she needs to do is drop the loser at home and find either someone supportive or just go it alone. I like to think I had a hand in my wife's success as I encouraged her every step of the way, although that's not to take anything away from the huge amount of effort and growth she went through in order to go from someone who basically failed school to earning a degree.

  19. #19
    Master raringtogo's Avatar
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    A zero hours contract is actually very flexible and should give her the advantage of being able to dictate when she is available for work as opposed to being at the beck and call of the employer.
    Zero hours workers have all the same rights as a contracted person with the exception of guaranteed hours (they accrue holiday and sick pay in exactly the same way and are protected under employer / employee regulations).

    Regards,

    Si

    That's All Folks

  20. #20
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plug View Post
    Right, I just need to let off some steam. I'm not asking for any kind of professional or legal advice, but I'm interested in people's opinions.

    My elder step-daughter works as a carer, basically on a zero hours contract from what I can tell. She's been doing it for a couple of years, has been doing well, and likes her job. She's not the most academically gifted, but is a genuinely caring person - she'd give you the shirt off her back.

    Unfortunately, because of the type of person she is, she does seem to lay herself open to being taken advantage of. The whole zero hours thing seems entirely biased in the company's favour, and she's always the first person they ring when they're short-staffed, which seems to be a constant state of affairs.

    The hours she works are pretty anti-social - she always seems to end up with the early morning and late night calls, probably because no-one else wants to do them. But she's happy enough with that, and as I say she likes her job. However, she is getting a bit fed up with them ringing her up and asking her to cover extra calls for people who, it appears, can't be bothered to turn up. But being the type of person she is, she always wants to help and loves the clients/customers/whatever you want to call them

    The other day, on her day off, she'd done some late calls, finishing gone 11PM. She was tired and switched off her phone before going to bed, so that she could have a bit of a lie-in. When she woke up and switched her phone on, there were 20 missed calls from work. Two Zero. When she got in contact she got the "can you do X,Y & Z" today? Such and such hasn't turned up."

    She's getting to the point now where she's thinking of jacking it in, due to the constant badgering. Now I realise some people are going to say "well nobody forced her into a zero hours contract" but to my mind this is overstepping the mark. I can understand they might ring her once or twice to see if she was available, but 20? That's got to be bordering on harrassment.

    If anyone's got any words of advice other than "tell them to stuff it" they'd be welcome. She really can't afford to give this job up, it's not the best paying job in the world but it keeps her head above water. Of course, if her lazy, shiftless, waste of oxygen partner could be bothered to go out and get a job and support his family it'd be a different matter, but don't even get me started on that..

    Rant over. Thanks for listening.

    Plug

    Good carers are scarce. I'm assuming she works for a care agency rather than a nursing home? She could approach another agency maybe offering better pay and conditions. She could also consider approaching privately run nursing homes in her area with a view to obtaining permanent employment. If she did not have a family she could find regular care assignments all over the UK with paid travel expenses ... provided she chooses the better agencies. Carers can become very attached to those they care for so have to be ruthless and recognise that loyalty begins with your own well being and peace of mind. I dealt with care agencies and nursing homes for many years when supervising the care of my own family members. There is a demand for good carers. I could write a book about all the 'not so good' carers.

    dunk
    "The energy expenditure of most people's weekly gym class workouts equates to the reward of one large doughnut afterwards" … Prof. Tim Spector, 'The Diet Myth' author

  21. #21
    I would suggest she gets in contact with local education employment agencies

    Many have SEN desks and look for food reliable people

    Day rates vary from (and I’ve paid them) £55-£100 a day (that depends on the client charge rates)

    Though it won’t give her a FT contract, many of my workers did become perm with the schools etc they did long term work for.

  22. #22
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    A very moving post Dickbrowne. What an awful shame and she clearly deserved so much better.

    Life is not a dress rehearsal, the OP's step daughter needs to prioritise herself for once. Her partner sounds simply appalling.


    Plug - whereabouts is she based?
    So clever my foot fell off.

  23. #23
    Imho this is all on her feckless partner.

    If he got off his 6 and went to work, there wouldn’t be such dependence on the ZHC job and there’d be an opportunity to look elsewhere....

  24. #24
    A zero hours contract is supposed to benefit both parties, in this case it seems that the employer is taking advantage, if I were your daughter I would write to them saying they need give her a full time job, don't threaten them, if they refuse she needs to leave and find another employer.

  25. #25
    Craftsman
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    Zero-hours contracts needs more focus from the govt (when various other distractions have been dealt with) as employers abuse the flexibility they give. They should be a stepping stone or gateway to proper part- or full-time contracted employment.

    If your daughter cares as much as you describe, this will be equally evident to other employers and with 2 years of service and experience should afford her a strong position to look elsewhere for employment.

    Previously mentioned was daytime nursery care for pre-school children. The hours are favourable, fixed and, judging by my monthly nursery bill for my 2yo, the pay should be satisfactory too. Best of luck to her.


    Sent from my Pip-Boy 3000 MkIV

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