Your responsibilities when employing a professional carer

Your responsibilities when employing a professional carer

One of the biggest changes introduced in care over recent years has been the rise of ‘personalisation’ – a new way to deliver support to disabled people, older people and carers. Many people will not be aware that if they employ a carer directly, they will take on certain responsibilities as an employer. This is the case regardless of whether they employ someone for a few hours a week or full-time.

They will also acquire employer status when using the Direct Payments or Personal Budgets which they have received from Social Services to take on someone to help with their daily needs. Some care agencies do advertise that the permanent carers they recruit for their clients are self-employed. However, if the carer is being paid directly by the person requiring the care, or by a member of their family and not the agency, then it is likely that they will need to be employed.

When is a carer not an employee?

If the person taking on the carer contracts directly with an agency and a rate is paid to the agency for that carer. This is most likely where a carer is required on a temporary basis. The carer will then normally be an employee of the agency who will operate PAYE on their behalf.

If a series of carers is provided by an agency on a rotation or ad hoc basis. In this case, if the agency does not employ them, the carers may be eligible for self- employed status.

When a part-time carer is appointed who works ad hoc hours and has other clients. In this case, the carer could be self-employed.

Tax and National Insurance

As an employer you may be responsible for deducting tax and National Insurance from your employee’s wages and paying them to HM Revenue & Customs together with your employer’s National Insurance contribution. Whether you will have to do this depends on how much your employee earns.

Your local social services department may be able to help you with the paperwork for HM Revenue & Customs.

Paying your carer

You must pay your carer at least the National Minimum Wage. If your carer lives with you, there are special rules for calculating the value of the accommodation you provide. You can count this amount as part of your employee’s pay, and it counts towards the National Minimum Wage.

Working hours, time off, sick and holiday pay

As an employee, your carer or personal assistant has an entitlement to:

  • Rest breaks
  • A maximum number of working hours in any week
  • Holiday pay
  • Sick pay (in most cases)
  • Liability Insurance

As an employer, you must take out Employer’s Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance

Employer’s Liability Insurance covers you if your carer has an accident or is injured while working for you (in cases where you might be held responsible).

Public Liability Insurance covers you for any damage or injury you or your carer cause to anyone else while your carer is working for you.

You can sometimes include Employer’s Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance in a comprehensive household insurance policy.

If you’re getting direct payments to pay for your care, your local authority must include the cost of Employer’s Liability Insurance in the amount it gives you. You can find out more about both types of liability insurance on the NI Business Info website.

Creating a written statement of employment

If you employ your carer for one month or more you must give them a written statement of the terms and conditions of their employment within two months of them starting work for you. The statement must include:

  • Pay
  • Hours of work
  • Holiday entitlement
  • Sick pay arrangements
  • Notice periods
  • Information about disciplinary and grievance procedures

Respite care or short-term breaks

If you’re usually cared for by a family member or relative, you may want to have a professional carer visit from time to time to give your regular carer a break. This is called ‘respite care’ and is usually provided by the social services department of your local trust.

If you would like more information please visit, email or call their helpline on 0800 0699 784.