Property prices are on the rise and all indicators show that they will continue to do so over the next few years. Both the sales and rent markets continue to show demand outstripping supply on a monthly basis. The fastest trend of upward moving prices is however, not in London but in the East of England, with East Anglia showing the fastest pace of increase. Added to the price rise are the increase in stamp duty and the changes in the interest rates. Rising prices tend to adversely affect affordability; however, unprecedentedly low mortgage rates have improved some aspects of affordability. Mortgage payments as a proportion of income are well below the 2007 levels and are on a downward trend since then.
Although low mortgage rates are good news, the problem that most public service professionals such as locum nurses face are securing a mortgage. Most lenders do not understand the unique working status of these key workers. This is where working for an agency or a contractor comes to the advantage. Ever since the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) came into effect in 2011, designed to give temporary agency workers the same rights as those in permanent employment, there are lenders out there willing to consider agency nurses and workers for mortgages.
We, at The Flame Lily, know that nurses, whether locum nurses or permanent clinical staff; work extremely hard, often with unsociable hours and find it very difficult to organize their lives, like people who work in a 9 to 5 job. Simple things, like meeting your insurance agent or going to the bank, are not so simple, when you work those odd hours. Taking out time for the family and social circle becomes difficult and this in turn, takes a toll on your mental well-being. With employee benefits being reduced and salaries being cut across the board, more and more companies are looking towards contractors to fulfil positions. The truth is there really isn’t such a thing as a ‘permanent job’ or a ‘job for life’ anymore. A large number of people believe that a twelve-month contract offers more job security than a permanent position with a company. These are among the reasons why a lot of you are now shifting from your permanent positions to becoming an agency nurse.
Advantages of working as an Agency Nurse
There are numerous advantages to working as an agency nurse. Basically, they boil down to more money, greater flexibility, increased freedom, wider skill development and an opportunity to be seen in a different light by a potential future employer, that is if you ever wanted to go back to the world of permanent employment. Listed below are some of the advantages to becoming an agency nurse.
- An average pay rate can easily be double that of a full-time employee, or even more.
- Agency nurses are paid very high rates due to their skills and flexible nature of the relationship and the fact that many positions can be relatively short-term.
- As an agency nurse, you may be paid for every hour that you work, as well as having the opportunity to work overtime at very good rates.
- Agency nurses have the ability to be far more independent than permanent employees.You have the freedom to work when you choose, where you choose and for however long you like.
- The company you work for is not your employer, but is instead your client, which puts a whole different flavour on the relationship!
- Contract roles will give you much more flexibility when it comes to agreeing working conditions.
- As an agency nurse, you also have more flexibility over the payment terms that you can negotiate.
- You have the opportunity to develop your career in a way that suits your personal circumstances at any given time.
- Working for different organisations or contractors gives you the ability to advance your career and your knowledge, without being limited by a single employer’s processes, procedures or business ethos.
- Opportunities aboard become that much easier and you become more attractive to clients if you have a broader skill set and experience. Many roles aboard are contract based.
- Your clients will see you differently, you will be treated differently. There are still pressures but they are different to those of the employed where what your boss thinks of you as a person can often be the driving force for your career rather than your skill.
There are downsides too
- That was a fairly impressive list of positives, but it’s only fair to point out that there are some downsides too.
- You are responsible for managing their own finances – for example things like tax, VAT and national insurance contributions – which may initially seem like a daunting prospect.
- Even in a buoyant market, there is always a level of uncertainty about where the next contract is coming from. This is no different to being an employee and worrying about redundancy (however the extra redundancy payment as an employee can be very handy).
- Locum nurses don’t get the same benefits and ‘perks’ that permanent employees receive. There is no sick pay and no holiday pay, so it’s vital you manage your finances to cover for these times.
- Not having traditional ‘colleagues’ can be lonely if you are not used to this environment. There are a lot of things you will have to deal with alone, which is why it is important to build up a good support network of people around you who can help you to manage.
- The very nature of the job – contractual, causes problems with financial agencies downgrading your credit worthiness. You have just found your dream house – but you can’t get your mortgage approved.
The Flame Lily Advantage
Nurses registered with us have already begun to understand how we take care of the ‘downsides’ to working as an agency nurse.
- We are always there to help our nurses with managing their finances – from helping them file their returns to reminding them of the due dates for their insurance payments.
- The demand for our nurses, at all levels, ensures that they need not worry about their next assignment.
- While they may not have the benefits and perks of a permanent position, we offer them the potential to work full time hours with better pay, along with the flexibility to work shifts that suit you.
- Our staff and team members are always there for our nurses, offering them counselling, guidance, a helping hand or a comforting shoulder.
Helping our Nurses get their dream home
We offer our nurses mortgage option, so that they will never have to let go of their dream home. Aware of the problems faced by locum nurses in securing mortgages, we at The Flame Lily, have specialized Advisors, who understand the requirements and guide our nurses and help them to secure the mortgage. Here are some of the ways in which we help our nurses secure their mortgage.
- Our specialist Advisors work with mortgage lenders and have negotiated special deals that enable you to borrow based on your annual contract rate.
- Our locum nurses do not need to explain their working status as our Advisors are fully aware of their unique working status.
- Contract based underwriting ensures that any tax deductions on your payslips won’t affect your mortgage affordability.
- The whole mortgage process for our nurses normally takes between 4-6 weeks
- Our locum nurses have the support of our dedicated Advisors and their administration team, who handle the entire mortgage process.
- Our Advisors tailor the mortgage deal, based on the individual requirements and needs of each individual locum nurse.
Our nurses have chosen a tough and noble career, and they do not need to change it just to get a home loan.
If you need support, our consultant will guide you through the process. Chat Now!