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As a business owner, you (the carer) should determine your own wages in the work contract as well as the method of payment.
However, the agencies negotiate the fees with the clients in advance and you have no possibility to actively participate in the negotiation process.
They often even offer you to sign a power of attorney(Vollmacht or Inkassovollmacht) for the agency to manage your company and its finances.
This is bad for you because the agencies pursue their own profit. Some agencies charge hidden fees or make you wait too long for your money.
The agencies practice wage dumping with the result that serious differences can be found in the remuneration of the carers (daily rates): while a Slovakian carer earns on average 65 € per day, a Romanian carer receives on average only 35 € per day.
The agency also determines your working hours and activities by creating the work contract (contract between you and your client) instead of you. This is a clear interference in your right as an entrepreneur.
The fact that working hours are regulated in work contracts is illegal and contradicts the idea of the personal independence of entrepreneurs.
The work activities that you are allowed to carry out are generally regulated in § 159 of the Trade Regulation Act. If the agency introduces activities in your work contract that exceed your scope of competence, you can reject it.
You are self-employed and have the right to choose whether you travel to your workplace by your own car, by train or by taxi.
However, your agency forces you to use their taxi services, often under the threat that the organisation agreement (contract between you and the agency) will otherwise be terminated.
Behind this is again the profit interest of the agency, which either runs its own taxi company at the same time or cooperates with another taxi company and earns commissions for itself.
However, you take a big risk every time you travel there and back, because the overtired chauffeurs drive long distances with too short breaks. In October 2017, a tragic accident during the return journey to Slovakia killed all passengers (one driver and seven carers).
This is your right and at the same time your duty. In many cases, the agencies take care of your business affairs (registration, re-registration and deregistration of the business, payment of SVS taxes) and charge different fees for this. You sign a power of attorney for the agency, thinking that you no longer have to worry about your business.
In practice, however, things do not always run smoothly. The agencies often do not behave correctly in this context either.
You will only find out about this when you receive a notification from the social insurance that your contributions have not been paid and that you have arrears with the social insurance.
Or when you go to the doctor, you find out that she/he does not want to examine you because your business has been de-registered. Such misuse of power of attorney by agencies is illegal and legally actionable.
Legally, as an entrepreneur, you are an equal partner for your agency. You therefore have the right to demand transparent information in your mother tongue about the health status of the person to be cared for, the conditions of the care relationship and the contents of the contract (work contract and organisation contract) from the agency.
This right should also be guaranteed for you by authorities such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Social Insurance Institution for the Self-Employed.
This is because the level of information is low due to the language barrier and puts the carers at a disadvantage.
In the triangular relationship typical for the care relationship (cared-for person – carer – agency), the carers have the weakest position due to the language barrier and the lack of knowledge about their rights and duties.
This creates a lot of space for the other actors to take advantage of the (imposed) situation of the carers.
Changing this situation, protecting you and ensuring effective representation of your interests is our goal as IG24.
We work to strengthen your position through education campaigns, counselling and public advocacy.