Being an Employer

Being an Employer

If you use a direct payment to employ a Personal Assistant you become an employer. Being an employer brings with it a number of responsibilities you need to be aware of.

Employer’s Liability Insurance
It is a legal requirement that all employers must have employer’s liability insurance. This provides cover for a range of issues including: accidental damage by or against employer or employee or others, redundancy and the cost of legal proceedings. We can recommend an insurer with experience with direct payments recipients.

Employee Entitlements
All Personal Assistants will be entitled to 5.6 weeks of annual leave each year. Depending on how much they earn per week they may also be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity or Paternity Pay, and enrolment into a pension scheme.

If you become an employer from 01 October 2017 you need to immediately check your employee’s right to a pension. If you are using a payroll company they will be able to support you with this. Otherwise you can get more information about your responsibilities around auto-enrollment on The Pensions Regulator website.

Being a Good Employer
As an employer you must treat any employees with respect and ensure they have a safe environment to work in. If you have any issues with an employee you must respond following the ACAS code of practice.

Your insurance company will also provide access to an employment law helpline that you can call to discuss how to deal with issues with your employee.

Skills for Care have produced an excellent booklet which provides further details about being an employer. You can view the booklet through their site here.

Finding a Personal Assistant
Your Personal Assistant could be someone you know - a family member, friend or neighbour, for example. Anyone who does not live in the same household as you can be your Personal Assistant if you think they are suitable.

It is worth taking time to think about what kind of person you are looking for and who you trust to do a good job. Your direct payment set up will run smoother if you have the right Personal Assistant for you.

If no-one immediately comes to mind you can ask around your community and social network. Some people find a friend of a friend or relative in this way. Some people ask around in local community groups such as schools, churches or clubs.

You can also do a recruitment process by placing ads and interviewing candidates. The Direct Payments Support Service can support you to do this.

Managing your Personal Assistant
It is very important to act as a good employer and to follow good employment practice. DASL can advise you when issues come up with your PA. You can also contact your insurance company’s employment law helpline.

The better you treat your PA, the more likely it is they will do a good job and you will be able to keep them for longer. You need to clearly tell your PA what tasks you want them to do each time they come to work. And you must be respectful and fair.

It is a good idea to regularly meet with your PA to discuss their work and the role, what you are happy about and areas for improvement.

When your Personal Assistant takes time off
Every personal assistant is entitled to 5.6 weeks of annual leave each year. You need to think about how you will receive your care when your PA take this time off.

There are a number of options:
If you feel you can get by for a short period without a PA then you can save the hours your PA would normally have worked. You can let these build up as a surplus or ask them to work extra hours when they come back to work.
If you can’t do without your PA for any length of time while they are off then you need to think about having cover in place. This means having other people available to fill in when your PA is on leave.
They could be a family member, friend or neighbour. You can put them on your payroll so they can be paid as and when they work.
If you don’t know anyone who could fill in for you then you might want to think about using an agency to provide care when your PA is on leave.
If you have more than one personal assistant you can arrange for them to provide cover for each other.