Carer sick leave - Help Please!


I haven’t posted here in ages but this is fairly urgent and I can’t think where to turn for help. We employ carers privately for my mum, who is 96 and is completely disabled through late stage Parkinsons, stroke and other conditions. Privately because a) we were advised by Social Services to do so after successive care agencies failed to cope with her complex needs and b) because after my dad’s death his pension took her just over the income threshold. She doesn’t have a whole lot in savings - as I write there is about £200 in her current account, and I quite often use my own money to pay carers’ wages because I’d rather do that than worry about her care. She lives with me, btw.

She needs 2 carers, 4 times a day. One of her carers went off sick 3 weeks ago, and has been signed off for another month with no end in sight. She’s not saying it’s a work related condition. Since she’s been with us more than 2 years, mum is now having to pay SSP at £94 a week, plus the cost of a replacement carer, since there is no way we can do without. Carer is insisting that if she can’t pay, then I must, as I have paid their wages myself in the past. Apparently mum’s insurance doesn’t cover us for this situation and the cost of SSP is now jeopardising mum’s ability to pay her other carers.

There are a number of factors that complicate this, but I think I should probably not give details here. I know I need to get legal advice (and will struggle to do this around mum’s care and full time work). I’ve spoken to ACAS who advised that we may be able to end the contract at some point but carer has said she will take us (yes, my 96 year old bed-ridden mum) to Tribunal if we try this.

Has anyone else come across this situation, please - and have I missed an obvious solution?

(Sorry if I’ve posted this in the wrong bit of the forum, happy to move it if so)

TIA for thoughts.

Hi C.

Two things stand out from your posting.

CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare ?

Is your mother receiving such care ?

If not , has an application been made ?

Rejected ?

Main thread :


Employing paid carers direct ?

As an employer , legal advice will be needed to avoid the pitfalls that go with that responsibility in law.

No one on this forum is a legal expert in that sense.

Either a solicitor specialising in that field and / or the CAB.

Link to the latter follows :

( Your employees … union members ? … UNITE in the background ? )

( Employment contracts ? Not mentioned … what have they to say for themselves ? )

I would envisage that very few readers have gone down this route … preferring the employing aspect to be left
to the LA or a care agency … definately a case of swings and roundabouts.

Let us know how matters progress.

It will increase our knowledge base on the forum.

I’m sure Social Services didn’t do the financial assessment properly if they said her INCOME is too high for help. What about her OUTGOINGS? If the financial assessment was done properly you should have been given a written copy. Ring Social Services tomorrow and ask for immediate help and a new assessment of needs and finances. You cannot be held responsible for mum’s debts. Your role is that of agent for mum.

If mum’s income is £500 a week, then usually that would be over the limit for SSD to help with care.
However, they have a minimum income figure that she should be left with AFTER considering what her care is costing.
I don’t have time to go searching at the moment for the exact figure, so I’ll use a fictitious figure of £150 a week.

So here is a very rough guide to how it works

£500 income
£100 care costs
£400 income left after care costs - no help

However, I’m fairly certain that her care costs will be far, far in excess of £100 a week!

Then there are a whole heap of “DRE” - Disability Related Expenditure to consider. Extra heating costs, hairdressing, chiropody, all sorts of things.

If you Google “Charging for Care” you should find the government’s website (.gov) information. This is the “bible” but you might first like to look to see if Age UK have anything a bit more user friendly.

Keep in touch. I once reclaimed £8,000 of her LA when she was wrongly charged for care.
I’d suggest prioritising getting emergency care (which the LA should have available) then going for the jugular as far as the financial situation is concerned.

Also ask the GP to make a Fast Track Continuing Healthcare application. CHC being granted would mean FREE care forever after.

You can set up carers payment through an agency, it’s quite cheap about £4.50 pw. We use Disability Focus and they can help with insurance, SSP, holiday pay etc.

Is your mum claiming attendance allowance? This is not means tested. Attendance Allowance: Overview - GOV.UK You can start your application and save it and add a day when care was started.

It sounds like your mother’s condition could be paid by CHC and you should pursue this. Everything in care is a fight, but stay strong and your resilience will build.

In the first instance, call your mother’s GP for the Fast Response Community Team, they can arrange care within 24 hours. We cared for my father in law, who could well afford care, but was allowed care from Fast Response after discharge from hospital.
Good luck and keep us all posted on progress.
Katherine x