United Kingdom Homecare Association
The professional association for homecare providers

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UKHCA Media Release

Homecare and Zero-Hours Contract - 02/04/2015

Over the last couple of days there have been widespread reports of pledges made by the Labour Party regarding zero-hours contracts.

Where used appropriately zero-hours contracts can offer benefits of flexibility to employees as well as employers. Many providers report the widespread attraction of flexible contracts amongst their workforce, whilst enabling providers to manage the peaks and troughs in demand.

With the majority (around 70%) of care purchased by local councils, providers face both unsustainably low rates as highlighted in our recent report ‘The Homecare Deficit’ and unpredictability of demand (see note 7). This is especially the case where councils choose to put packages of care out to multiple providers and initiate competitive bidding process through framework agreements.

Under Labour’s proposals on zero-hours contracts, the economic viability of the sector will be even further challenged, increasing the risk of providers leaving the market. This could result in the unintended consequence of reducing the capacity to care for people who use these vital services even further.

With employers’ income predominantly generated by the hours of care they deliver, they have every incentive to ensure that their workers receive opportunities to obtain as much work as they are willing to accept.

As a professional association UKHCA favours better guidance on the use of zero-hours contracts being made widely available to employers and employees rather than a blanket withdrawal.



Notes for Editors

1. United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) is the professional association for more than 2,200 domiciliary care providers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. UKHCA’s mission, as a member-led professional association, is to promote high quality, sustainable care services so that people can continue to live at home and in their local community. We do this by campaigning, and through leadership and support to social care providers.

3. UKHCA has a vetting procedure for its members, all of whom agree to abide by the Association’s Code of Practice, which can be found at

4. There are over 9,800 registered homecare providers across the UK, the majority of which (86%) are in the independent and voluntary sectors. We estimate that these organisations employ over 578,000 homecare workers, who deliver over 6.25 million hours of care per week to around 505,000 service users, valued at £5.1 billion per annum.

5. Homecare encompasses provision of personal care, to people in their own homes. For many, homecare is the alternative of choice for people who would otherwise need to move into residential accommodation.

6. The majority of homecare is funded by the state (usually by local council social services departments, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), or Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland). However, homecare services are largely delivered by independent and voluntary sector providers working under contracts with the statutory sector.

7. UKHCA’s report “The Homecare Deficit” provides an overview of the underfunding of older people’s homecare by councils in Great Britain and the Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland, and summarises UKHCA’s calculation of the minimum price for homecare to provide compliance with the Minimum Wage (including careworkers’ travel time). See:

8. For further information please contact:

Telephone: 020 8661 8188
Mobile: 07920 788993

Registered in England, No. 3083104.


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