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A carer’s pay will vary depending on the type of assignments and clients they support and how often they work. Typically, someone starting out as an employed homecare worker can expect to earn around £11 an hour. The most experienced carers with additional qualifications allowing them to look after clients with more complicated needs can earn more than this, up to £30,000 when working full-time, sometimes more.
Self-employed carers have more freedom over the hours they work and the clients they choose to work with, which means that their earning potential is generally higher and can be more than £35,000, however with this comes increased administrative responsibility, less security in terms of guaranteed hours and a lack of supporting benefits such as sick or holiday pay entitlements.
Care work is often paid per hour, not salaried. This offers scope to earn more than an employer contract may stipulate when overtime is taken into consideration. Overtime is not often paid at a higher rate in the care sector, but this will vary from employer to employer or what has been agreed directly with the client. Working unsociable hours such as weekends and bank holidays will usually command a higher rate of pay, but this will again vary from employer to employer and client to client and it’s important to agree in advance any specific arrangements for such work. Another important consideration when understanding a carer’s earning potential is that live-in carers would not be expected to pay for food or contribute to household bills when in an assignment, which makes their earnings go further.
The best way to progress within the care sector is to attain qualifications and experience, affording greater potential to work with higher needs clients.
Self-employed vs employed
Carer pay can vary greatly depending on the company, the location, and the level of care being provided. A self-employed carer may expect to be paid more per hour, but there will likely be a higher inconsistency of work as well as extra duties that must be taken into consideration such as filing tax returns and sourcing a consistent client base.
Employed carers will be paid by the care provider they work for into a bank account and their tax paid via PAYE. They may be paid monthly or weekly depending on their contract, role, or employer.
For self-employed carers, this will be decided between the carer and their clients, but it is most likely going to be via BACS (bank transfer) settled on a weekly basis, in arrears, so accurate hours can be invoiced. Any self-employed carer would also have to file for self-assessment and submit their own tax returns.
There is a lot of opportunity for career progression in homecare and it is a sector always on the lookout for new talent.
As with any profession, having relevant qualifications is essential to progress quickly in care. Depending on a company’s structure, employed carers can also go on to carry out other roles within an organisation with some onward management roles including Care Managers, Care Coordinators, Trainer or Assessor, Team Leader and many more.
Our next section goes into detail on the skills that a good carer will need as well as the qualifications that can make an application stand out or help with career progression. Download our complete Guide to Becoming a Carer for free. Everything you need to know about becoming a carer in one handy pdf which you can print out or read digitally.
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