Home care workers

Let’s take ‘The Fear’ out of caring

Home care workers provide vital care to some of Edinburgh’s most vulnerable citizens. They are at the core of the Council’s ‘home first’ approach to care. These workers faced high levels of risk as they continued to work in homes around Edinburgh throughout the pandemic.

Then why are they treated so unfairly? In many aspects of their work their employer takes advantage of their caring and dedicated natures, impinging on their personal lives and providing inadequate support and protection.

Unite CEC Branch are campaigning to change this and ensure these essential workers receive fair treatment and suitable protection at work.

Are you a home care worker? Concerns about the conditions of these vital workers? Find out how to get involved in our campaign below.

The issues


Home care workers must pay for their parking. They have 30m slots for visits, yet can spend a long time finding parking spaces on visits in busy areas of town.

They must use their own cars and claim back the mileage—something that is placing more and more of a financial burden as low paid workers dealing with increasing fuel costs. They receive no help towards maintenance and repairs of their vehicle, despite this being a key tool in their work. The Council has pool cars, but access to these is restricted.

The Council use the UK Government’s rate for mileage payments of 45p per mile, while NHS equivalents receive 65p.

Driving care workers have considerably more visits per day than ‘walkers’.

We call the last day before going back on shift The Fear

Home Care Worker

Working in own time

Workers are expected to make and take work calls in their time off, with essential handovers happening off the clock.

Workers are expected to undertake learning activities in their own time.

Use of own devices and email

Workers are not given Council IT access. They are bombarded with emails to their personal email address—something that presents data protection and security risks.

Health and safety

Home care workers are lone workers, yet lack the adequate protection. The only alarms provided are sonic attack alarms—unlike the likes of People Safe systems used in the NHS.

Visits can be in intimidating and precarious situations that workers are not given information about—for example, in houses where others are present or with dogs.

Our demands

To address transport issues we are calling for:

  • access to Council vehicles
  • parity across the Health and Social Care Partnership for mileage payments
  • driving to be factored into the job description and evaluation.

We call for an immediate end to unpaid labour:

  • all calls to be part of the paid workday
  • shift information to be provide as far in advanced as possible
  • additional hours to be paid as overtime
  • protected time for learning, using Council IT.

Workers need access to Council IT systems and devices.

The safety of workers is paramount, therefore we call for

  • visits to be conducted with two workers
  • revised risk assessments covering service user-specific risks
  • a robust emergency system and centrally-reporting personal alarms.

Get involved

Contact branch secretary Brian Robertson on brian.robertson2@unitetheunion.org or branch convener Graeme Smith on graeme.smith2@unitetheunion.org.

2 thoughts on “Home care workers”

  1. if we get use of pool cars , this must be for the whole day , 730am – 2100. Do agree about answering phone calls etc out if hours, need to get reasonable compensation for this , milege is a joke at the moment 45p , just covers petrol cost. As I’m averaging 800 -1000 miles a month for work. Thus dies not cover any ware and tare . we used to get a car allowance fixed rate , they could bring this back .

  2. hi my rough milage a month is between 850 -1000 miles , usually get £350-450 a month . i fill my car up on first day of 4 then have to fill up on last day . at the moment I’m putting in £70 every 4 days of work which = £300 + , doing this kind of milage for work i have to get new tires every 2 years at £80 each and all other aspects of running a car such as mot , tax etc

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