Rights for Respite Workers

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  • #215

    Nhar
    Participant

    Rights for Respite Workers

    Certain items have been altered in this story to protect the confidentiality of all parties involved.

    You are a social worker and someone you know comes to you with this situation for help:

    The situation involves a 20-plus year old individual who provides respite work for a family on a regular basis. As part of the duties of being a respite worker, the worker signs receipts stating hourly rates and monthly wages of work which get submitted to the respite funding body for accountability of funding. It is the duty of the family to disperse the respite funds they receive from the funding body. Upon the starting of respite work, the family suggests providing monthly cheques for payment of services. Given this, the respite worker receives a monthly cheque from the family. For personal reasons, the respite worker has not gone to the bank to cash two previous cheques for completed respite hours. These cheques are less than 3-months old. In Canada, cheques are valid for up to 6-months, so the respite worker’s understanding is that although it is less than ideal, the worker should be able to deposit the money any time up until that date without repercussion – especially because the money is from an external funding source to cover respite work hours from an employer (the family). The respite worker had not had discussions about cheque cashing timeframes, nor did the respite worker receive the cheques in the same timeframe each month. There has been no formal contract signed related to funding/cheque deposit times and the respite worker understood receipt of a cheque as a promise of payment. The respite worker has completed the previous respite receipts which were sent to the respite funding care worker, so the hours worked have been systematically reported as payed.

    The respite worker contacts the respite family to discuss the plan to cash the previous cheques and acknowledge the potential inconvenience this may cause. This is in an effort to apologize about delayed cashing of the cheques and to ensure the family is aware the sum of money will be coming out all at once. It is the respite worker’s assumption that the family would have noticed that the funding was not taken out. The family becomes agitated that the cheques have not been cashed immediately upon receipt. The family has the perspective and assumption that when you receive a cheque you are to immediately cash said cheque. The family informs the respite worker that they manage their personal funds by the amount in their bank account and so it appeared additional money was available to the family each month. The family did not question the additional funds that were available to them each month the cheque wasn’t cashed, but instead chose to spend the money elsewhere on unknown means. You are informed that there are no funds available anymore to cover these previous cheques for work already completed. The family is reluctant to discuss the situation with you and instead requests to speak to your parents, whom are not involved in the situation whatsoever. The family expresses that a burden has been placed on them by having to deal with the cheques. The family asserts that you need to bring the two cheques that have not been cashed to a meeting with the family the following day. They assert that you need to cross each cheque out before the meeting, thus making them invalid for payment. The purpose is solely to destroy the cheques so they will not be cashed, which has been explicitly told to you by the family in writing. They continually reiterate the cheques will not be cashed and they simply do not have the funds to pay the agreed upon amounts.

    Keeping in mind that these respite hours have already been submitted to the funding source as paid, and are now being refused to the worker. The respite worker continually offers to discuss solutions for proceeding in a respectful manner that is manageable for the family. Upon attempts to discuss future plans to ease the situation or accommodate payment plans over an extended period, the family refuses to cooperate. The family provides an ultimatum that the cheques must be voided and brought to the meeting or else they will withhold the cheque payment for the current and previous month’s respite hours that have already been completed. Along with this, they state that non-compliance with voiding the cheques and handing them over will result in the family refusing to discuss the situation further. The respite worker fears that if they refuse to void the cheques the family will simply put a stop payment on all of the outstanding cheques or that if the respite worker attempts to cash the cheques they will bounce. The respite worker is concerned about what cashing the cheques will do to the family’s current available funds – which the respite worker has continually attempted to acknowledged by trying to discuss a payment situation with the family originally.

    Questions for discussion:

    1) How do you approach settling this situation?
    2) Who’s rights are being violated?
    3) Do you go to the bank and attempt to cash all cheques which are rightfully yours as the worker, which may inconvenience the family?
    4) Who do you contact for support?
    5) Do you continue to work for the family who has threatened to halt paying your current and future hours worked?
    6) You are no longer comfortable working with this family, how much notice should you provide to leave this respite position?
    7) Do you discuss this situation with the respite funding care worker?
    8) Who do you turn to when trying to determine your rights as a respite worker?

    #247

    BasilVega
    Participant

    It’s imperative to know your lawful rights when you are an unpaid carer. The Australian Government has made an ActOpens in another window, to build acknowledgment and consciousness of carers. Most state and regions likewise have enactment that sets out your rights as a carer.
    A carer is somebody who gives unpaid individual care, support and help for somebody. You may look after somebody who is delicate and matured, or has an incapacity, a dysfunctional behavior, a medication or liquor habit, a long haul well being condition, or a terminal ailment. The individual may be a relative, a companion or a neighbor.

    Click here

    #295

    AnniePerry
    Participant

    1) How do you approach settling this situation?
    First, I think that this situation needn’t have happened if the respite worker was more responsible in handling the funds of this family. It does not make sense to me that “personal reasons” would keep someone from going to the bank for over two months to receive payment for their work. I would have foreseen this issue to happen and would have cashed the cheques immediately to avoid such confusion. It is understandable that the families did not realize the money had not come out and I completely empathize with their situation. That being said, the respite worker does need to be paid for their work.

    2) Who’s rights are being violated?

    The rights of the respite worker are being violated as they risk having not received payment for their work provided to the family.

    3) Do you go to the bank and attempt to cash all cheques which are rightfully yours as the worker, which may inconvenience the family?
    I would contact a respite funding care worker and explain the situation to see what could be done, to avoid putting the family in further financial hardship.

    4) Who do you contact for support?
    At this point I think it is time to contact the respite worker authorities to discuss this matter. This is putting the respite worker in an unfair position by not receiving their earned wages, and it is also putting a burden on the family by being forced to manage these extra funds.

    5) Do you continue to work for the family who has threatened to halt paying your current and future hours worked?
    The only way I would continue to work for this family is by contacting the respite workers managing body and seeing if I could be paid directly by them and not the family. If this were possible, I would then consider how much the relationship has been affected and if I could competently practice in this setting.

    6) You are no longer comfortable working with this family, how much notice should you provide to leave this respite position?

    Personally I would provide two weeks notice as is standard practice for employees, however I would request payment to be made up front. If this was impossible and no alternate arrangements could be made, I think the fear of not being paid at all would force me to give immediate notice for vacating the position.

    7) Do you discuss this situation with the respite funding care worker?
    I would discuss this situation with the respite funding care worker because not only has the family been dishonest in my payment but I am also implicated in that by signing off on the various receipts and forms. To ensure an ethical practice I think it is imperative to discuss so that I could not be later implicated in fraud.

    8) Who do you turn to when trying to determine your rights as a respite worker?
    I would contact the respite funding care worker first or look on their website for general information.

    #324

    B00598504
    Participant

    1) How do you approach settling this situation?
    I think that it was irresponsible for the respite worker to not deposit the cheques promptly, especially since the hours worked have been systematically reported as paid. However, this is a difficult situation as the family is not willing to negotiate.
    2) Who’s rights are being violated?
    I believe that the rights of the respite worker are clearly being violated as they haven’t been compensated for their work. However, they may have violated some sort of policy in regards to submitting receipts saying that they were paid when in fact they never deposited the cheque.
    3) Do you go to the bank and attempt to cash all cheques which are rightfully yours as the worker, which may inconvenience the family?
    I would most likely contact someone from the agency and explain the situation to see what could be done, to avoid putting the family in further financial hardship. However, if the family is unwilling to negotiate or speak about payment plans that worker has a right to be compensated for their efforts. Legally, the worker can still deposit the cheque as she stated in Canada you can wait six months. I myself have accepted cheques and not deposited them right away never thinking about it.
    4) Who do you contact for support?
    This is a difficult situation because I am not quite clear on whether the respite worker is employed through an agency, or if it is just done individually. If they are employed through an agency I would suggest looking into it that way. However, the respite worker may also want to speak to the funding body as the family could potentially be seen as abusing the system by keeping money that does not belong to them.
    5) Do you continue to work for the family who has threatened to halt paying your current and future hours worked?
    Due to the negative relationship now with the family, who has refused to communicate and discuss the problem at hand and repayment options I would discontinue working with them and notify the funding organization of the situation. Respite work is very intimate and if there is not trust or respect between the family and you as a worker it would not be healthy to continue the relationship unless something were to change.
    6) You are no longer comfortable working with this family, how much notice should you provide to leave this respite position?
    I would provide two weeks notice as that is the standard. I would also not sign off on any payments until I had deposited the check and the money went through.
    7) Do you discuss this situation with the respite funding care worker?
    Yes, If unable to work this out peacefully between respite worker and family the funding care worker needs to be advised of the family’s attempts to skirt the system by voiding previous checks which are owed to the worker. It is important that this situation does not occur again when the family gets a new respite worker.
    8) Who do you turn to when trying to determine your rights as a respite worker?
    I would look into the policy in place for respite workers and the funding agency to determine whether or not there is a failure of the family to comply with the policy, or if the blame rests within the individual for failing to deposit cheques.

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