A bank staff arrangement can offer care providers a cost-effective way to meet their fluctuating staffing needs while offering the benefits of flexibility and role variety to temporary workers. But what does bank staff mean in a care home setting and how can employers protect the rights of their zero-hours contract workers?
As specialists in care insurance, we have put together a short guide to employing bank staff for your care home.
In this guide, we cover:
- What is bank staff?
- What does bank staff mean for employers?
- The benefits for bank support workers
- Guidance for employing bank workers
- Maintaining a good working relationship with bank staff
- Do bank staff get holiday pay?
- Where can you find bank staff for care homes?
- What else should care homes consider?
What is bank staff?
Bank staff refers to a pool of temporary or part-time workers who are available to fill in staffing vacancies on an as-needed basis. Bank work in care homes is typically determined by the fluctuating demands of the facility, ensuring that there is adequate coverage and continuity of care. This could be, for example, when regular staff members are absent due to sickness, annual leave or other reasons.
What does bank staff mean for employers?
Bank staff provide a valuable resource to fill in staffing gaps, offering the flexibility to be called upon as needed. Hiring bank staff can be cost-effective for care homes as workers are paid on an hourly or shift basis, eliminating the need for full-time salaries and benefits.
The benefits for bank support workers
For bank staff in the care industry, work-life balance is often the draw to this way of working. As well as the flexibility to choose their shifts, they can also benefit from varied work opportunities, gaining diverse experience and enhancing their skill set. For many, the potential for additional income through taking on extra shifts is also a big plus.
Guidance for employing bank workers
So, what determines what is bank work? Typically, bank workers are engaged on a Bank Worker Agreement, which includes the following guidance:
- Bank staff can work up to 48 hours per week (although there is no minimum).
- This Agreement is not a contract of employment and does not confer any employment rights
- It does not create any obligation on the employer to provide work or guarantee a minimum number of hours.
- Bank workers can choose to accept or decline the work offered, without reason.
- A shift must be offered and accepted before the worker is formally entered on a rota.
- Bank workers are entitled to statutory employment rights, which include:
- National minimum wage
- Paid annual leave
- Rest breaks
- Protection from discrimination
- Cancelling work at late notice, or when the individual turns up at the place of work, is unacceptable, unless truly unavoidable.
Maintaining a good working relationship with bank staff
Just like other types of workers, bank workers have employment rights that protect them from unfair treatment, so it’s important for care homes to understand how to manage the working relationship.
- Ensure there is a written contract outlining both parties’ obligations. These contracts should be clear and transparent so the individual can understand their rights.
- Ensure you conduct regular reviews of how and when bank staff are employed—ensuring that they are not regularly used for the same role or the same regular hours, for instance, if it is not justifiable.
- Acquire written confirmation that the bank worker understands there is no obligation on the part of the employer to provide regular work, and likewise, there is no obligation for the bank worker to accept any shift or work if it is offered.
- Ensure there is provision made for shifts to end partway through with no obligation for you to pay for unworked hours.
Do bank staff get holiday pay?
Bank staff are typically classed as ‘workers’ and are entitled to holiday pay. The exact number of days they can take as paid holiday will depend on how many hours they have worked. They must also be paid any leave owing to them when their employment contract ends.
Where can you find bank staff for care homes?
Agencies: Contact recruitment agencies specialised in healthcare and care work. These agencies maintain a pool of qualified and available workers who can be matched with the care home’s needs.
Employee referrals: Encourage current employees to refer potential bank staff. They may have contacts or acquaintances with relevant skills and experience who are looking for flexible work opportunities.
Social media: Post job openings and reach out to interested individuals on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook groups, or professional forums dedicated to healthcare and care work.
What else should care homes consider?
Whatever your staffing arrangements, you will want to ensure continuity of care for your patients, and that’s where specialised care home insurance can help. In the event of an unexpected incident or liability claim, the policy is designed to provide financial protection—helping you keep the organisation running smoothly.
Please speak to our team for more information.