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Employing a personal assistant

If you decide to employ a Personal Assistant (PA)

Having a Personal Assistant provides flexibility, continuity, and a personalised support service which you control. This involves you employing an individual of your choice to support you. 

The Council encourages a diverse care market which includes employed personal assistants, self-employed personal assistants and microenterprises. 

We need to ensure your Direct Payment includes all the costs involved in employing a Personal Assistant. The Direct Payment & Employment Support Service will do this for you. Our preferred Direct Payment support service is Barrie Bookkeeping, and there is no cost to you for their service as they are contracted by the council to provide this support. Your Social Care Worker will make the referral.

This will include the following:

  • Personal Assistant hours and negotiated rate of pay starting at National Living Wage as a minimum.
  • Annual Leave (5.6 weeks pro-rata) 
  • an employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.
  • employers liability insurance (including Public Liability) 
  • payroll costs (if applicable)
  • pension (auto- enrolled)
  • National Insurance 
  • disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks records for criminal convictions of the proposed PA. 
  • training for Personal Assistant’s.
  • other potential costs, e.g. recruitment. 
  • funding for contingency arrangements

If you choose a self-employed Personal Assistant you will need to consider:

  • hourly rate (this will include the cost of bank holidays, annual leave, and pension)
  • Public Liability Insurance 
  • letter from HMRC with unique tax ref. 
  • whether DBS in place
  • whether training is up to date
  • contingency arrangements in place – It is the self-employed Personal Assistants responsibility to cover sickness or holiday where possible
  • it is the responsibility for self-employed Personal Assistant’s to cover their own Pension, Tax/NI, DBS costs. You will need to see evidence of Personal Assistant being self-employed which is normally a unique reference number from HMRC

Being an Employer

  • by law you must provide your personal assistant with a written contract of employment that defines their terms and conditions of employment
  • as an employer you must pay PAYE, Tax, National Insurance contributions and a Pension. This is easier to manage when you use a payroll service through the preferred Direct Payment Support Service (Barrie Bookkeeping)
  • you must register with HM Revenue and Customs as an employer. The Direct Payment support service can help you to do this. If you decide to do this yourself please contact the New Employers Helpline on 0300 200 3211 or you could contact your local Tax Office for advice
  • you must pay your personal assistant no less than the minimum wage. You will also need to keep up to date with any changes to this rate. HM Revenue and Customs will give you advice on these rates
  • there will be occasions when your personal assistant is unable to work because of sickness. The personal assistant may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay. You will need to check the qualifying conditions with HM Revenue and Customs
  • you must be aware of working time regulations and your responsibilities as an employer
  • as an employer you will need to be aware that your personal assistant is entitled to annual leave. It is advisable that you check the current entitlement and make sure you keep up to date with changes
  • you must have the correct Employment and Public Liability insurance, which is funded from the direct payment budget. The direct payment support service can support in setting this up
  • a Self Employed Personal Assistant will need to register themselves with the HMRC, pay their own Tax, NI and Pension contributions and ensure they have the correct liability insurance

Insurance 

Employer Liability Insurance 

If your employee is injured whilst working for you and you are held legally liable you will be protected to cover legal costs and compensation. By law most employers must have employer's liability insurance. The cost of the insurance is included in the direct payment budget. 

Public Liability Insurance 

This will insure you against any damages or injury caused to someone else by you or your personal assistant while working for you.

Vehicles   

Using a vehicle – if the personal assistant is using their own vehicle to transport you, they must have the correct business insurance. If the personal assistant is driving your vehicle, you must ensure they are named on your insurance policy. 

Redundancy

An Employed Personal Assistant who has been in post for 2 years or more may be entitled to redundancy if their post is ended

A Self-Employed Personal Assistant would not be entitled to redundancy as they are not an employee.

Useful link

Individual employers and personal assistants (skillsforcare.org.uk)