Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

11th January 2017

Do I have to take verbal abuse 24/7?

Dear Sheila
I am a private live-in-carer and have to take quite a lot of verbal abuse from my woman who I take care of, like (I am a German) you are a Hitler!
I have been working for her nearly 2 years and now I found out that the family didn't tell me in the beginning that their mum is suffering from depression. What can I do? Do I have to ignore it?
I am working 24/7, Sunday's I have off 10 hours and 3 hours off on the other days. Can I ask for 1 day off in a week?
I hope you can answer my question.



Thank you for your question,


Again we have asked our employment law experts Napthens for their comments and this is what they said:


"In relation to the issue of racism, I would encourage her to report every incidence of verbal abuse to her employer. Employers have an obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure that their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing are protected. Employers are also required to assess risks faced by their employees at work and are obliged to take steps to prevent/reduce risks where they can.


Once the employer is on notice of the verbal abuse, they may be able to provide her with training in how to respond to the verbal abuse from her patient or may even be able to allocate her an alternative patient. She should also check whether her employer has a specific policy to deal with verbal abuse by patients?


Her contract of employment will state her contracted days of work. She should check her contract for her contracted working days to ascertain whether she is entitled to any days off per week. Though her contract might not specify any working days. I would also direct her to the working time regulations which state that she is entitled to 11 hours uninterrupted rest per day and 24 hours uninterrupted rest per week or 48 hours in any 2-week period. Useful guidance at -


She should also check to see what her contract says about her working hours and whether she has contracted out of the 48 hour working week. In the event that she has not signed out of the 48-hour working week, then she shouldn’t be working any more hours than that.


She can of course ask her employer to reduce her working days, though there is no obligation on her employer to agree to reducing working days below what is required in her contract.


She should also be making the most of her holiday entitlement which is 5.6 weeks’ minimum for employees but her contract may entitle her to more."


I do hope that this is helpful.


Please come back to me if we can help further.


Best wishes.



*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

Please do get in touch with our team of specialists if you can’t see an answer to the question you may have and we will be happy to help.

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