Home Care Services in Crisis: IQ:timecard Offers Sensible Solutions for Domiciliary Care Providers

An in-depth review of the home care system has found that worker exploitation is putting the whole industry in ‘crisis’, with poor working practices and low pay named as leading problems in the sector. The report, which was led by Paul Burstow, a former Care Minister, showed that unpaid travel time and zero hour contracts have led to incredibly high staff turnover, which is affecting clients of home care services directly.

IQ:timecard, one of the country’s leading time and attendance solutions largely used in domiciliary care businesses, are encouraging these organisations to banish the issue of unpaid travel time and low pay by introducing the workforce management system. The solution is incredibly popular with top home care providers, Home Instead, with more than 100 of their franchises opting for IQ:timecard – demonstrating the potential benefits that the technology can offer for domiciliary care organisations.

David Lynes, Director of IQ:timecard, says, “The new report shows that home care is at breaking point – after a number of high-profile cases in care homes, experts are worried that the problems will stretch to the domiciliary care sector. The data gathered by this report found that it’s ‘only a matter of time’ before a major scandal is faced – and home care providers must act fast.”

He adds, “The main problems faced are to do with low pay and unpaid travel time – both of which can be rectified using our time and attendance solution. The IQ:timecard software allows companies to analyse how much their workers are being paid for the total hours they work, and will offer a ‘red flag’ if an employee is earning less than the minimum wage. This makes it much easier to rectify problems with wages and ensure that workers are earning a fair salary.”

Around 60% of workers in the home care sector are employed on zero-hour contracts, which means they’re not guaranteed a certain number of hours. The direct effect of these contracts on home care clients is that there’s no consistency in the carers they see. Some clients reported having up to 50 different carers in a year, which is not appropriate for those who suffer from conditions like Alzheimer’s, where stability and routine is important.

The report also found that up to a third of staff are not being paid the minimum wage because they are not paid for their travel time – but other recent reports find this percentage to be much higher. Both issues are crucial for staff retention, which is credited as one of the most important aims for home care businesses as they attempt to steer their industry through this tough time.