Many people have their care and support needs met by employing a personal assistant for care (PA) who can support them in a wide range of ways. You can use your direct payments or personal health budget to employ a PA. As the PA’s employer you are in charge of the work they carry out for you. Being their employer puts you in control of:
- who you have to work for you
- what time of the day they provide the support you require
- what tasks they do for you
- when and where your support is provided
Employing a PA to do the tasks that you find difficult to do yourself means that you have the support you need to enable you to lead an independent and fulfilling life.
Using direct payments you can employ people you know such as family members, friends or anyone from your local community. You cannot use your Direct Payments to employ people that live in the same household as you, or your spouse or parent unless the council decides this is the only way for you to get the support you require.
Some people prefer to employ people they know as their PA and others find it easier to employ people they do not know. It is entirely up to you as to which you feel more comfortable with.
If you take on a PA you become an employer and it is very important that you understand all the legal, financial and practical issues that this involves:
- you must use a payroll company to calculate your PA’s wages
- you must have employer’s liability insurance
- you must provide your PA with an employment contract
- your PA will be entitled paid holiday
- the council will pay for your PA to have a DBS check, to check if they have a criminal record
- you must check that your PA has the right to work in the UK
The direct payments money you are given will pay the wages of your PA and other associated costs such as payroll and employer’s liability insurance.
If your PA is self-employed the above obligations do not apply, but when they submit their invoice for the work carried out for you their Unique Tax Reference Number should be clearly displayed. This is your proof that the PA is registered as self-employed with HMRC. Our finance department requires this information to ensure that the direct payments money is being used legally and appropriately.
You will be allocated a direct payments advisor who will support you to fulfil your legal obligations as an employer.