Newcrosshealthcare employee review – £50 fine for being ill?

Mostly good, too corporate. A very “mixed” four years.

newcrossWhen I first joined, the Brighton branch was run by a very good manager. For the likes of me (healthcare assistant and support worker, on and off for twenty years, including a great deal of agency experience) and qualified RGNs, there was plenty of work available (mostly in care homes) and we were very well supported. After the manager suddenly left, things went slowly downhill. They’ve recently closed the Brighton branch, running any remaining business from Eastbourne.

Pros and cons

Holiday pay is included in the hourly rate. Pay is not bad but they pull a bit of a fast one by including “holiday pay” in the hourly rates. It may look as though you are being paid more than other care agencies – often around £8.00 for day shifts (below a real living wage), more for nights and weekends – it’s actually about the same or slightly less than other agencies.

Variable management. At least at the branch where I was. One stand-in manager was extremely insensitive during an annual staff review and I made my feelings clear to her and to the regional manager at the time. Newcross can be overly corporate, the word care in Newcrosshealthcare is sometimes overlooked – I had to stand up to them a few times.

newcross2The £50 fine “cancellation fee”, including if you are ill! What on earth are they on about!? It may discourage people from phoning in sick last minute but it really upsets and undermines staff. Fortunately, I’m in good health so this outrageous policy only affected me a couple of times. On more than one occasion, I worked with Newcross staff who had come into work with stinking flu in a care home, rather than go through the hassle of the £50 cancellation process i.e. getting a refund after a doctor’s note.

The call centre in Devon is sometimes at odds with the local branch. At one stage I put in a complaint about an incredibly rude and unprofessional call worker. At other times I would ring in to register my availability (Newcross tend to be a bit obsessed with this) and would later find out that it hadn’t been put on the system. On the whole though, most staff were doing a good job, some were lovely people.

Continually recruiting new staff when there aren’t enough shifts for existing staff. Newcross regularly sent me enthusiastic text messages, reminding me how I can earn a bonus for recommending people to work locally. Fair enough if there was plenty of work to go round but this was often far from the case!

newcrosstwitterMostly good but too corporate. Newcross sometimes seem a bit too concerned with their self-described corporate mission “to dominate the market”, rather than respecting their staff at all levels. Despite that, thank you to them for helping me pay the bills for the last four years, I made some good friends and enjoyed much of the work particularly the many regular homes and clients. I know from experience that some agencies are worse. I’m now at a smaller, more local agency which is generally a bit more human.

A shortened version of the above has been posted on, the job website.

January 2019 update: Thank you to The Guardian newspaper for exposing this dodgy company.

The front page of the printed edition on Christmas Eve, no less! Although my time with Newcrosshealthcare was not all bad, everything in The Guardian is consistent with both my experience and everything I heard (or suspected) as I gradually found out more about them. Thank you to the journalists and whistleblowers involved.

About Tim
UK musician (pop/rock/prog), astrologer for 30 years (the deeper stuff), care and support worker #ExtinctionRebellion "We're all f***ed, so be nice." ~ Russell Brand

7 Responses to Newcrosshealthcare employee review – £50 fine for being ill?

  1. JbOLL13 says:

    My partner recently had this issue after our car broke down the day before her shift. We tried everything to get her to work. It was in the community so we would need someone to take her and then drive her around. We looked at hiring a car, and it was cheaper to take the hit of the £50.

    I did call ACAS and they said that if someone is on minimum wage then this charge is not lawful

    • Tim says:

      Yes, I often wondered if it was legal.

      Did you manage to get the £50 back? I knew several staff who did but others gave up if they couldn’t get hold of their doctor to write a note, or they had other problems proving they were genuine.

      The good manager (who I started with) waived the cancellation fee for me on one occasion when she could see in person that I was genuine. Most staff were not treated so well.

      I assumed it must be legal as Newcross are open about it? Perhaps not. It stinks – and Newcross are well aware that it stinks! Of course they justify it with the old “Our clients know that they can count on our staff, it helps us maintain high standards blah blah”. Fair enough, they are obviously not always bothered about keeping staff happy – which is why many leave.

      • If they advertise the job at an hourly rate and the actual contract that you signed doesn’t detail that the hourly rate includes your holiday pay – then they have misled you and are breaking the law by not paying your holiday pay accordingly. Springfield Healthcare do similar, they advertise and claim you get £9ph plus travel time, but then say the travel time is incorporated into the hourly rate. If at any time it works out that you are being paid less than minimum wage they will get the book thrown at them too, as is the case with Springfield. I am fuming as I turned down a job at £8.50ph to take this and now it works out I’m being paid less than minimum wage, not including all the little extras i do for clients like picking up from the library etc.It’s a shame because the workers and most management are lovely, but the top brass are clearly taking the mick .

  2. Tim says:

    Hi Lizzie. Yes. To be fair, Newcross were actually quite open about the hourly rate including holiday pay, but as they seemed to have their act together a lot more than another agency I was with at the time, I joined them. But my experience of Newcross by the end was Bad, they didn’t seem to care about their front-line staff or their management either. Profit was all that seemed to matter.

    Sorry to hear about your experience with Springfield… “The top brass are clearly taking the mick”, yes this applies to so, so, many companies these days, it really does. I could go off on a political rant about “unregulated corporate capitalism” destroying everything but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about!

    It’s so sad, when I first started working with care agencies over twenty years ago, there really was nothing like the penny-pinching and piss-taking out of front-line staff that there often is now. Things certainly weren’t perfect but generally everyone in offices at care agencies was kinder and more human, most of the systems worked better. I don’t think it’s just me getting old haha. I’m glad to be having a rest from it all these days.

    I hope things work out for you, good luck!

  3. Linda Waters says:

    Very poor company ..they say it’s flexible but if you refuse a shift they won’t offer you one for a while . I’ve been fined £150 for cancelled shifts which I can’t afford but due to mental health issues I had no choice . No support what so ever . It looks as though it’s a good rate of pay but once you take the holiday pay off and the insurance you have to pay your lucky if you get minimum wage. Would not recommend this company also you have to pay for any training which is £30 and uniform is £25 the only people making money is the company

    • Tim says:

      Yes, money-grabbing and uncaring. At the beginning I had a very supportive manager at the Brighton branch who made it worthwhile, I think my positive experience for the first couple of years was almost entirely down to her. By the end of my four years I was disgusted with Newcross. Overall, not a good company. In fact, having heard and read many other people’s experience since, quite possibly a very, very bad company.

  4. Tim says:

    Thank you to The Guardian for exposing this dodgy company.

    The front page of the printed edition on Christmas Eve, no less! Great work.

    With a few other related articles such as these:-

    I didn’t go into everything I knew or thought about Newcross in my original blog above, but The Guardian articles are completely consistent with all that I heard and/or suspected as I gradually found out more over my few years working with them.

    It made my Christmas! Great work, thank you to the journalists concerned.

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