Minimum Holiday and Break Periods for the UK Social Care Sector

Minimum Holiday and Break Periods for the UK Social Care Sector

Nobody wants to be that person who’s brand new to a team and starts niggling about breaks and downtime – however, all care professionals must make sure they’re getting the right amount of rest.

Care work can be very physical and emotionally challenging, so you need to take advantage of tea breaks, lunch and holidays to ensure you have the resilience and health to deliver fantastic care.

OUTT.com regularly hears from candidates who are shocked (in a good way!) to receive full PAYE benefits with flexible shifts, excellent pay rates, and proper support. That highlights that it’s well worth taking the time to recap the legal minimums.

If you’re ever worried that you aren’t getting the proper holiday entitlement or days off to recharge those batteries when you’re running on empty, check out the OUTT.com social care recruitment platform for a better way to work.

In the meantime, let’s work through the bare minimum you can expect from a social care employer.

Minimum Rest Breaks for Care Workers

Now, every organisation will have a different policy about rest breaks. Some might play it by ear and recommend taking a load off in between shifts when things are quiet.

Others put in place structured rests, usually in care facilities where it’s impossible to anticipate a slower part of the day.

Staggered rest breaks can be a great way to make sure everybody gets a break without having a mass exodus to the tea room all at once.

UK legislation states that:

  • Workers are entitled to one 20-minute rest break without interruption during a typical day of over six hours.
  • Your breaks can be taken as lunch or can be a quick tea break.
  • Rest periods don’t have to be paid for – although great social care employers will grant you at least a 20-minute recharge without docking the time from your payslip.

Many employers will expand on that, offering smaller breaks during the day and a more extended lunch break.

A lot depends on the nature of the care organisation you work for – it can be pretty tricky getting an hour away for lunch if you’re a home care worker, providing one-on-one support, for example.

Ready to join OUTT?

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Break Periods During Night Shift Work

We hear you; a typical eight-hour office day isn’t remotely comparable to social care shifts! If you’re working nights or a longer 12-hour shift, you still have the right to a proper break.

There are three types of a break for adult social care workers:

  • First, rest breaks you take at work.
  • Then daily rest – i.e. in between shifts.
  • Finally, weekly rest, which is the amount of time off you need during the working week.

If you work somewhere that is staffed 24-hours a day, you are entitled to 11 hours of consecutive rest.

Of course, if you’re working overnight in a care home on a 12.5-hour shift, that’s cutting it fine, but it still means you get at least 11 hours away from work.

Say you can’t have 11 hours away, then you are entitled to compensatory rest breaks – as long as it all works out within the legal limits over an average week. You should be getting at least 90 hours off work during any seven days.

We’ve established that a minimum 20-minute rest is required for any work over six hours, and that same rule applies no matter what time of day (or night!) you happen to be on duty.

You’re also required to have at least one day off per week.

Legal UK Holiday Entitlements

Next up, let’s think about holidays. Whether that’s languishing on a tropical beach with a fruity cocktail or finally getting around to that garden makeover project, every care worker must get some proper time off every year.

Missing holidays can cause no end of challenges, and it’s in an employer’s best interests to ensure their staff are supported, rested, and valued.

Working flat out without ever taking a break can cause:

  • Fatigue, illness, mental health conditions, and burn out.
  • Loss of job satisfaction, commitment and drive.
  • Decreases in quality of care, professionalism and standards.
  • Resentment, with exhausted staff feeling demotivated.

There are national standards in place, applicable to all roles in any employment sector. For example, UK workers should receive at least 28 days (5.6 weeks) of paid leave every year.

That is the statutory entitlement, and anything beneath that for a full-time worker is a breach of employment law.

Employers can choose to include public holidays – although having every bank holiday off is probably a pipe dream in many care roles where patients and residents need support regardless of the date on the calendar!

Leave Periods for Part-Time Care Workers

If you work part-time, don’t worry; you still have a legal right to a minimum amount of holiday every year. Legally, anything under five days per week is considered part-time, although if your shift patterns chop and change, it tends to work on averages.

You still get the 5.6-week entitlement, although your number of working days included in 5.6 weeks will be lower.

Employers usually adopt a straightforward pro-rata system – so they’ll offer you the same as a full-time worker, reduced by the relevant number of hours.

For example:

  • Lisa works 40 hours per week, full-time, eight hours per day. She is entitled to 5.6 weeks or 28 days of holiday – and might split that into half days or take off, say, two weeks at a time.
  • Stefan works 16 hours a week, part-time, also eight hours a day. He still gets that 5.6 weeks off, but it works out as 89.6 hours or just over 11 days of holiday.
  • As a temporary care professional, you get this same calculation, but based on each hour you get paid for. Your holiday pay is accrued and will show on your payslip, you can request this money to take paid leave or every week, it’s yours to manage as you need.

Some employers will offer a holiday entitlement over that statutory limit. Others will have policies about booking leave a specific period in advance or not taking more than two weeks of holiday consecutively.

The point is that, whatever job you do, you must get time away – whether that’s grabbing a coffee or taking a whole week to reset your energy stores.

We all work at our best when we feel enthusiastic and positive, and making sure you’re getting enough holiday, and a decent number of coffee breaks is essential to your health as well as job performance!

Coming Back to Social Care After a Break

Coming Back to Social Care After a Break

Returning to any career after some time away can feel massively daunting!

The world of social care has innovated and flexed in the past few months. As a result, there have been substantial employment drives to recruit experienced staff to help fill these vital vacancies.

OUTT.com has been leading this movement as a social care recruitment specialist, appointing thousands of trained care workers or new candidates.

Care work is an outstanding career opportunity, with demand and progression routes far above most other employment industries. It’s also an invaluable sector, in good times or bad, so it offers long-term job security that we all aspire to.

Still, knowing all the benefits and what you can do to kick-start your social care employment after a break are two different things!

We’ll provide some advice and resources available to refresh your skills, update your learning, and find fast-track employment options with immediate placements available.

How to Return to Social Care After a Short Pause

There are all sorts of reasons you might be looking into social care jobs – some of the typical scenarios include:

  • Having faced redundancy and looking for more stable employment.
  • Returning to the sector after years away in another career.
  • New candidates looking for care work as a first step on the career ladder.
  • Medical professionals seeking more flexible working opportunities.
  • Social care staff that have taken a break to raise children.

The best way to get back into the swing of things depends on how long that break has been.

If you’ve had a short hiatus, you’re likely in a great position to dive back in and can register with OUTT.com and start browsing through the shift vacancies immediately!

However, it’s also crucial to ensure you feel ready and aren’t concerned that policies or practices have changed.

Knowledge is power, so being prepared is ideal for making sure your new career path goes to plan.

Integrating Back to Social Care Through Support Roles

Should you want to ease yourself back in gently, there are all sorts of options.

Perhaps you’d like to consider different roles within a caring environment. Remember that your experience and skills are equally valuable across the sector, so you don’t necessarily need to work with direct patient care if you’d like some time to adjust.

There are thousands of vacancies in care work support staff, and if you’ve been away from social care doing a different job, you might have picked up some new knowledge that would make you a great fit.

To explore some of these options a little further, please visit OUTT.com.

We provide an overview of each type of social care work environment, with information about the kinds of roles available, such as:

Alternative social care jobs include catering staff, activities coordinators, administrative support, maintenance roles, and managers – so you’re not restricted to looking for vacancies in the specific position you filled before.

Ready to join OUTT?

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Updating Social Care Employment Skills After a Career Break

Another common scenario is when a care professional has been away for some years.

There is more demand than ever for excellent social care workers, so don’t ever feel that because your skills are a little rusty, there won’t be hundreds of available placements.

We’ve touched on the need to have personal confidence in your abilities. Should you have been away from social care for several years, it can be worthwhile to access training to ensure you’re entirely up to speed with any changes in the interim.

OUTT.com offers full PAYE employment benefits, with the backing of a qualified team of social care recruiters – and the resources you need to get your certifications up to date.

The OUTT Academy is free of charge to all candidates, without a catch!

From our perspective, it makes sense! We offer free qualifications and accreditations across the board.

In return, we provide a pathway for experienced care workers to return to the sector where their skills are so vital and ensure they have great rewards and consistent pay rates, so it’s worth sticking around.


OUTT.com Free Social Care Training Courses

To clarify, we’re kind of like an agency, but better. Our candidates are paid a baseline minimum of £10 per hour for any role in any placement.

Candidates pick and choose their shifts, leave ratings for employers, and accumulate their testimonials and feedback to assist in ongoing career progression.

The Academy is packed with resources, recognised qualifications and training modules to ensure you have everything you need to step back into the world of social care. Courses available include:

  • Understanding Learning Disabilities for Social Care Professionals
  • Falls Prevention for Social Care Settings
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Information Governance (including GDPR)
  • COVID-19 Safety Awareness
  • Epilepsy Awareness
  • Mental Wellbeing at Work
  • Dementia Care
  • Understanding Mental Health Conditions

These are a snapshot of the skills hub courses available!

We also provide social care blogs and news updates covering everything from legislation changes to advice for safe working, government guidelines to improving your commute to work.

This learning Academy aims to support all social care professionals, including:

  • People returning to the workforce after long or short breaks.
  • Care workers looking to improve their skills.
  • Professionals seeking career development opportunities.
  • Those who would like to enhance their CV to find more flexible roles.
  • Staff that wish to build on their experience and gain new qualifications.

Whether you’ve been away from care work for years or have been a social care professional for a great deal of time, it is always beneficial to access free training resources and ensure you’re entirely up to date with sector guidance.

For more information about OUTT.com social care employment, our Academy, or any of the courses listed above, simply register online – and let’s get started!

Your social care career is under your control, so if you’d like to spend some time studying before you pick which vacancies you’d like to apply for, that’s up to you.

All OUTT.com training modules are available through any Internet-enabled device, offering total flexibility over how, when and where you decide to refresh your knowledge.

Five Tips for Social Care Professionals Looking to Take the Next Step on the Career Ladder

Five Tips for Social Care Professionals Looking to Take the Next Step on the Career Ladder

Social care professionals have all been in a job where we know we’re overqualified or have developed a great set of skills that means we’d be able to apply for a more senior position.

However, taking that leap of faith and putting yourself out there at an interview can be nerve-wracking. Still, it’s a good kind of nerves and all-important to recognise when you are ready to progress to the next step in your career.

There are so many factors to consider:

  • Do you apply for an internal promotion or start somewhere new?
  • How can you showcase your experience on a CV that stands out from the crowd?
  • Should you choose positions in the same sector or branch out?
  • How do you know you’re qualified enough for an advertised vacancy?

Add to those questions a bundle of anxiety about handing in your notice and establishing yourself in a brand new team. It’s easy to put progression on the back burner in favour of staying where you’re comfortable.

BUT you must take opportunities when they arise and be proactive about moving forward – after all, amazing jobs don’t land in our laps very often!

Let’s look at five tips from the social care recruitment team at OUTT.com to help you prepare for a successful transition and nail that senior post you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Listen and Learn from Your Social Care Supervisor

Our first piece of advice is to use the resources you already have available!

We get it; a regular supervision review might feel like a drawn-out analysis of your performance – but it’s a brilliant way for social care professionals to pick the brains of your manager!

Think of it like this:

  • If you tell your supervisor you’d like to progress, they might keep you in mind for any vacancies that crop up.
  • Asking for feedback showcases your appetite for success and will help a supervisor guide you to ensure you have the best possible experience. So be prepared to work on any areas for improvement, and you’ll make a great candidate for promotion!
  • Expand your horizons. Offer to help out in new areas, fill gaps in other teams, run social events, or attend further staff training – it all means you continue to grow.

Even if you’ve no interest in staying in your current workplace, a supervisor can provide a tremendous amount of information, peer-to-peer guidance, and support with finding options for new courses or experience.

2. Take Advantage of Opportunities to Upskill as a Social Care Professional

Say you yearn for greater responsibility or more senior tasks, but find it tough to showcase your skills.

In that case, we’d recommend looking at your training experience and searching for ways to bulk out your CV with practical learning.

Again, it doesn’t need to be a formalised accreditation – check out:

  • Vocational qualifications and courses.
  • On the job training offered by your current employer.
  • The OUTT.com social care Academy resources.

Often, a willingness to learn and apply yourself to gain new skills demonstrates just as much value as having a raft of high-level certifications – don’t ignore any opportunities to expand your knowledge, even if they don’t seem crucial to your current position.

Social care professionals with a comprehensive knowledge of safety protocols, best practices, and management techniques will appeal to employers looking for senior staff. These general training courses can put a big tick in your corner.

3. Social Care Career Progression – the Beauty of the Sidestep

OK, so the next thing to consider is where you’d like to work.

Once you’ve got an idea about the sort of placements you’re interested in, you can start narrowing down the vacancies and shortlisting positions.

There are two primary options here:

  • The sidestep. Moving sideways means you apply for a similar job, or perhaps the same role, but in a different setting or working with another care patient group. This option is ideal if you feel like you’ve still got experience to gain but can transition to an employer with more significant opportunities for promotion.
  • Upward progression. If you’re all set, have the qualifications you need, and feel confident in your skills, then the only way is up. Upwards career moves mean you opt for a role of greater responsibility – that might be a senior position in your existing workplace or an advanced role somewhere brand new.

Don’t ever think that you’re stuck in a job you don’t love and where there seems zero possibility of an internal promotion!

Sideways career moves can open up a tonne of opportunities with employers who offer training, experience or the potential to apply for senior roles down the line.

Social care is a critical workforce with rock-solid career stability. So, if you feel like it’s time to move on but don’t yet feel comfortable that you have established enough skills to qualify for a managerial role, there is always room for manoeuvre with thousands of employers crying out for quality care staff.

Ready to join OUTT?

Find social care shifts that you control!

4. Applying for a Care Employment Promotion – Getting Your Ducks in a Row

Next up, before you click on a single application form, you need to have all of your information correct and up to date.

You might be resolute in that you are ideally qualified for a role, but if you can’t demonstrate that to your ideal employer, it’s probably not going to happen.

The easiest way to get all your application information together is to resort to good old pen and paper. Make lists of:

  • Every training course you have done – whether or not you got a certificate. Include in-house training, policy meetings, webinars, external courses and any general training received during work.
  • Your skills – if you struggle, try taking a pad with you to work. Make notes of all the things you do, and you’ll quickly start to rack up an impressive list! Remember that employers want to know what you can do, not just what you’ve learned, so practical skills are just as valuable as qualifications.
  • Experience – you’ll need a complete timeline of all of your roles, both in and outside of social care. Work in an office role can demonstrate organisational skills and teamwork, for example, so don’t cut out valuable work experience because it isn’t directly related to your dream job.

Trust us; when you’ve got a good list of everything, it makes writing an application infinitely easier! Just make sure to cut it back if you end up going over two pages – keep it concise, professional, and to the point.

5. Establish Your Ability to Manage

Offer to mentor new staff – this is a good one!

Mentoring doesn’t mean you need to be of particular seniority in most social care jobs – it can be things like new team member inductions and helping them settle in.

However, if you’re keen to climb that career ladder, this kind of one-to-one support for more junior staff is a brilliant way to stand out as a great management candidate.

Many senior jobs will have some qualification requirements – for example; you might need to work on a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care if you want to step up from a care assistant role to a team leader.

But, if you’ve put time and effort into establishing a well-rounded set of skills, have shown a commitment to progression, and have done your homework in creating a fantastic CV, you’ll be in a great position to succeed.

Please visit us online for access to the OUTT.com Academy (psst, it’s FREE for all candidates!) or register to browse the shift vacancies currently available.

OUTT Bucks The Trend To Create 5000 New Social Care Jobs

OUTT Bucks The Trend To Create 5000 New Social Care Jobs

In a move to challenge the misfortune of 2020, the social care temporary recruitment app OUTT is creating over 5000 new social care jobs in 2021.

Where many industries have endured shock waves of redundancies and business closures, social care remains vibrant, but as a sector, continues to be blighted with double-digit vacancy levels.

OUTT is a newly launched digital temporary recruitment app, backed by a share of £50 million InnovateUK funding. This valuable governmental support has aided the speed of development, the goal to increase post Covid employment opportunities and fill temporary shift vacancies quickly. OUTT sidesteps the need for traditional agency support by allowing the employer to connect directly with suitable candidates at a much-reduced cost.

5000 new social care jobs

By matching candidate availability with employer demand, the app removes barriers to employment. It offers complimentary skills training to support returning social care workers who wish to refresh their knowledge, meaning that flexible opportunities are available for those feeling the impact of the COVID-19 jobs crisis.

Recognition from InnovateUK cements the status of this new digital recruitment concept as part of the drive to regenerate the UK. The awarding body grants funding to businesses at the sharp end of accelerated innovation, with OUTT selected as an app that facilitates faster staff appointments and a dynamic way to meet workforce demand.

While agencies and contingent staff have long been the backbone of UK social care, OUTT confronts this unpredictable reliance. It introduces a contemporary way of working that reduces the time and cost constraints associated with agency fees, with additional opportunities for professionals to gain recognition through an employer review base to help them develop skills, experience, and knowledge.

Steve O’Brien, OUTT Founder & CEO, says, “Our initial concern was addressing the growing shortfall in social care keyworkers across the UK, then COVID-19 simply changed the way we all live and work. This allowed OUTT to embrace the change and fast track the social care sector into the 21st century. Our aim is to provide 5000 new social care jobs in 2021.

In addition, agency worker rights are too often tarnished with negatives such as workers charged for payroll or forfeiting holiday pay; this practice has got to stop. Technology provides social care with a transparent platform where candidates can take control and get the pay they deserve.”


Help us understand reality?

Recruitment Compliance

As a vital component to the successful recruitment app, OUTT delivers full compliance testing protocols, with verification processes more usually aligned with banks and credit cards, thus increasing hiring speed and enabling rapid deployment where needed. This has never been more essential, especially with the changing legality of self employed worker through IR35, where the liability firmly lies with the end hirer. 

It is anticipated that, as demand for social care roles, homecare services, care homes, homelessness provisions and mental health services continue to skyrocket, digital innovation will provide the key to meeting those needs in a way that benefits the sector as a whole.

About OUTT

London based OUTT is a next-gen social care temporary recruitment app born from the COVID-19 pandemic. This UK Government-funded project provides a rapid route back to work for the UK, with expedited registration and compliance technology.

Registering with OUTT delivers opportunities for social care professionals to find work, build a review base, gain free skills training, and to take back control of where, when, and how they work.

Workforce managers have the opportunity to reduce overheads, fill vacancies quickly, plus significantly cut costs.

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation.

For more information, visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org


Care Home Management 

Healthy Lunch Alternatives on Your Social Care Shift

Healthy Lunch Alternatives on Your Social Care Shift

We get it – you’re in the middle of a busy social care shift, have a short lunch break, and haven’t eaten anything since you snagged a bite of toast on your way out of the door this morning. It’s always tempting to grab a quick bite to eat from the canteen, or even nip out for a cheeky McDonalds!

However, as a carer, we’re willing to bet you’re on your feet for most of the day, and always feel that energy lag creeping in towards the end of your shift.  To stay healthy, and put as much care into yourself as you do into your patients, it is essential to make sure you’ve got a decent lunch!

Not only will that keep your energy levels up right until end of shift, but it’ll make you feel so much better about your food choices.

Self-Care for Carers

Self-care may be a buzzword you often hear, but it’s also essentially important. We all know you can’t pour from an empty cup, and since we’re all human, it is never going to be possible to work at 100 mph running on fumes. An NHS survey back in 2017 found that 25% of English nurses struggle with maintaining a healthy weight – and that demonstrates just how challenging it can be to prioritise your own diet when your career is all about helping others.

There’s also the added challenge of all those thank you cookies! It is fantastic to know that you’ve helped somebody, and to receive a token of appreciation – but less so when you realise you’ve existed on doughnuts for the past week… (Don’t worry; we’ve all been there!)

So, let’s look at some manageable, sustainable ways to prioritise your own self-care, to try and make sure as a carer you protect your own health.

How To Make Time for Lunch on a Social Care Shift

The first thing to think about is whether you actually take a lunch break. Yes, we know, it’s on the rota, but that is very different from taking it! The problem is that a lot of carers whizz past their lunch break without a second thought.

It’s easily done – you’re busy, running behind, a patient needs some extra support today, and all those good intentions about looking after yourself go out the window. Here are our top tips for making sure you find time to eat  – and that it’s something more substantial than a packet of crisps from the vending machine;

  1. Pack your lunch the night before: mornings are chaotic for the most organised of us. If you get your lunch ready and it’s sitting in the fridge ready to grab, you’re far less likely to forget than if you put more pressure on yourself to fix up a meal at the crack of dawn.
  2. Batch cook or meal prep. We’re not advocating you start following a bodybuilder lifestyle, but if you have one evening a week where you’ve got time to cook, it can be a great way of stocking up. Even if it’s boiling a load of eggs, chopping up chicken, or preparing a giant tub of pasta, the more quick and easy options you have in the fridge, the easier it is to steer clear of the staff room snacks.
  3. Use a shopping list. If you want to lead a more healthy life, the best place to start is in your trolley. Avoid the confectionary aisle (no matter how loud it calls you!), and make a list of all the ingredients you need to make the lunches you have planned out. If you can be disciplined enough to buy just what you need, you’ll save a bundle as well as having everything to hand to knock up a decent lunch for the rest of the week.
  4. Stocktake your Tupperware. One of the problems with bringing in lunch is keeping it hot or cold, and making sure it stays fresh until break time. You can buy any size or shape Tupperware in any supermarket, or invest in a decent thermos for hot pasta and soups.
  5. Treat yourself to a lunch box. It doesn’t need to be Paw Patrol themed either; you can get stylish lunch bags that provide insulation to keep your food cold. This is ideal for social care shifts where you don’t have a fridge available.

If you try to make it easier on yourself to get your lunch ready in advance, it makes being healthy a whole lot less stressful.

Ready to join OUTT?

Find social care shifts that you control!

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Carers

Stuck for ideas? Tired of that sad, slightly soggy egg mayo sandwich? Find drab salads bland and unappetising? Same here.

Food should be healthy, energising, and enjoyable; your lunch is a well-deserved break in your social care shift, not an obligatory task that you don’t look forward to.

Here are some fantastic ideas for budget-friendly, easy to prepare, healthy lunches that you can make in a flash!

There are tonnes of lunches you can make that will keep you full till home time, stock you up on vitamins and healthy fats, provide a burst of energy, and won’t break the bank or take hours to prepare.

Some of the most straightforward options are also the best:

Pasta is very easy to batch cook, and you can add extra toppings or veggies to add variety. Think adding tomatoes and pesto, cheese and Mediterranean veg, tuna mayo – the possibilities are endless!

Salads provide a great bang for your buck when it comes to nutrition, and again you can make a bigger batch and portion it out over a few days. Make sure to avoid making a tub of lettuce; salad can be vibrant and delicious – think about goats cheese and beetroot, pomegranate and feta, or prawn and Marie Rose sauce. Even some ‘exotic’ veg like asparagus or sun-dried tomatoes make a salad a more flavourful option.

Soups are fantastic when you’re short on time, but are a lot healthier than a quick biscuit to dunk in your tea. Again, you can batch cook a vat of soup to last all week long, and use up any leftovers in your fridge to try out new combos. We love potato and leek (with a bit of bacon if we’ve been good!), a traditional chicken and veg for the winter, or a lighter carrot and tarragon for a fast burst of goodness.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy and will look forward to. A great lunch is the best route to a winning day full of energy, vitality and health!

Interested in learning more about establishing that elusive work/life balance as a social care worker? Feel like you’re working every hour, but never have time to sit down to lunch? Check out OUTT, the new way to take back control of your live, shift patterns, pay, and social care career.