I work for an agency and also independently. I've been at this long enough that I now "know people". I prefer the Agency because it's all so cut and dry. I don't have to think about what I'm supposed to do or who I'm supposed to talk to about a problem or issue. It's really easy. When I go on vacation or just need a day off, I call the agency and they find a replacement. Super simple. If someone isn't behaving, caregiver or other wise, I call the Agency and they take care of it. Super simple.
Working independently is much harder but I make more money. My check is all mine, don't have to share it with anyone. But it is harder in that when there's a problem we deal with it ourselves. This creates inconsistency of policy and correction. In my case, I work with a group of women from Ireland. I think I am the only one that isn't Irish. I call them the Irish Mafia. They stick together like glue. They are hard workers and expect the same. They have taken the best shifts and a lot of them. No agency would schedule someone for 5 12 hour shifts. First and foremost it's against the law to work over 40 hours and not earn time and a half. It's also against the law to have 3 12 hour shifts back to back. No oversight.
They are always covering for each other. I am certainly the outsider. I get the left over shifts, the reprimand when routine changes because no one tells me. I try to stay to myself and do my job as completely and cheerfully as possible. When I need a day off or a slight schedule change it's real work trying to find someone to cover for me. We do have a ring leader who got us the job. I do go to her from time to time but we are mostly left on our own and if I complain too much I could lose the job all together. Most of the girls are polite just very closed. All except one. Unfortunately I cross paths with her once a week. She comes in with an ax to grind and will use it given half a chance. I try to be accommodating but something is always wrong. From taking out the garbage to disposing of the Depends and such. It is nice that the Depends get removed everyday. It really helps the air quality. But she is unforgiving if I put the Poise pads in a little tied baggie and throw it into the trash which has nothing else in it and then leave. For the most part we can dispose of the trash on our way out, it's very convenient. But to dispose of trash when it's practically empty is a waste of supplies. The Yankee in me rears her head.