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Employed personal assistants

If you employ staff this means that you become an employer. If you become an employer you must register with HM Revenue and Customs (opens in a new window).

There are a number of things you must ensure you have in place when employing staff:

  • payroll
  • fair rates of pay and you must adhere to the minimum wage
  • up to date job description and person specification
  • contracts of employment
  • employee rights and responsibilities must be adhered for example ensuring correct income tax, national insurance contributions, holiday pay, statutory sickness pay (SSP), maternity pay, paternity pay and managing Risk

Penderels Trust (opens in a new window) a direct payment support service can help you with this . It will make employing staff easier for you. When you recruit your own staff you may have to apply a selection process that involves advertising and interviewing staff.

The Council strongly recommend you seek the support of Penderels Trust (opens in a new window) a direct payment support service who will advise on keeping safe when recruiting. If you choose not to have the support we would advise that you follow steps to ensure you keep safe.

Employment law will apply to you as an employer and you must ensure that your process stays within the law. Below are some things you will need to consider and have a responsibility to apply when recruiting personal assistants.

  • writing job descriptions, job specifications, job adverts, preparing job application packs
  • the Personal Assistant’s conditions of service (rates of pay, hours, breaks)
  • what they will do, how and when
  • what training is needed
  • what you will do when your Personal Assistant takes annual leave, is sick or needs other unplanned time off work
  • how to keep safe when advertising, interviewing, references and recruiting
  • criminal records check
  • employing people legally
  • employer’s liability insurance

Penderels Trust (opens in a new window) a direct payment support service can provide all or part of this support. Self Employed HMRC consider status case by case and although a carer could be employed or self-employed, it is more likely they would be an employee.

Some people will tell you that they are self-employed; however, it is the responsibility of the person who engages a carer, to operate PAYE and to account for National Insurance Contributions (NIC) unless the carer is engaged through an Agency or is clearly in business on their own account.

The quickest way of getting HMRC's view if a carer is employed or self-employed is to use the Online
Employment Status Indicator tool (ESI). If you are unable to use the Employment Status Indicator tool (ESI) and are unsure of the carers employment status you can telephone the HMRC Status Customer Service Team on 03000 527450 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, except bank holidays.

You should always ask for references from other people they have worked for.Penderels Trust (opens in a new window) a direct payment support service can provide you with support to ensure you keep safe when using self employed
personal assistants. The Council strongly recommends that you do not use people who are self-employed to support you as a personal assistant. HM Revenue and Customs (opens in a new window) employer helpline: 0300 200 3211

Keeping you safe when employing a personal assistant

Penderels Trust (opens in a new window) a direct payment support service can help carry out a criminal records check (called a DBS check) on the person you want to employ. The Council ask that you seriously think about this when you employ your own staff.

If you choose not to use the direct payment support service to help you and give you advice there are a number of important things the Council ask you to think about to keep yourself safe when you advertise and meet possible staff to see if they are suitable.

Follow this process to keep yourself safe:

  1. do not put your home address, telephone number, or details about yourself on the job advert you could ask the job centre to advertise for you
  2. the job centre have their own process which will help you to stay safe or you can perhaps use a mail box number.
  3. make sure you ask for two written job references from the people you interview and follow them up
  4. when you interview people do it away from your home address if you can and have someone with you to support you
  5. you must comply with employment legislation and Worcestershire County Council strongly advises you have support to do this
  6. when the personal assistant starts working with you it is advised that you arrange for a friend, parent or someone you trust to spend some time with you when they first start work

If you still choose to recruit staff without this help please talk to your practitioner about it and obtain the information on how to do this safely.

If you choose to use an agency the law says that care agencies must be registered with the Care Quality Commission. The Council strongly advises you to only use an agency that is registered.

Who can I contact for more advice?

You can contact the Access, Triage and Intervention Service (ATIS) please call 01905 768053.

Penderels Trust

Offer advice, guidance and practical solutions to enable people with disabilities and older people to live independently in their own homes, to achieve their goals in life and to help them play an active part in their community. For more help with personal budgets and direct payments visit Penderels Trust (opens in a new window).

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