Direct payments: Employing a personal assistant
Employing a personal assistant
If you are using your direct payment to employ a personal assistant, you become that person's employer. This page explains some of your responsibilities and where to get more information, advice and support.
Getting support from an agency
Very few people have experience of being an employer. This is where a support agency can provide valuable help.
A support agency can provide you with advice and guidance about all aspects of employing a personal assistant and can make arrangements on your behalf, for a fee. We can give you money to help with the cost of this.
Penderels Trust can give you general support and information about direct payments.
How can a personal assistant help you?
Before advertising and interviewing for a personal assistant, it is important to decide what kind of person you want to care for you. You can do this by preparing a list of tasks that the carer will need to carry out and a list of the skills and qualities the carer will need to have for them to do these tasks effectively. For example, you may want someone that can drive.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to be aware of, and keep to, employment laws. This includes making sure you understand the rules to do with employing someone from overseas. Your personal assistant must be eligible to work in the UK.
A direct payment support agency can help you to understand this more clearly and make sure that you are keeping to all current laws. You can also find information about this on the Carers UK website.
All paid workers have certain rights by law. These include the right to:
- protection against discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, marital status or membership of a trade union
- be paid at least the minimum wage
- equal pay (men and women should be paid at the same rate for the same job)
- not have any unlawful deductions from their pay.
There is more information about this in the leaflet Information about employing a personal assistant.
Money to get you started
Adults and Communities can give you a start-up payment to help with the costs of advertising, Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks, setting up employment contracts, getting employers’ liability insurance and payroll services for paying personal assistants their wages, tax and National Insurance.
Your social care worker or a support agency can tell you more about this.
Keeping records about your personal assistants
If you employ your own staff, you may want to do the payroll and record keeping yourself, instead of paying an agency to do it for you. The payroll is the list of people who work for you and how much you have paid them.
You cannot use money from your direct payment to pay yourself for this work.
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