Using your Direct Payment - Employing staff (Personal Assistants)

You may decide that you want to employ your own staff to provide some (or all) of the care and support that you need. This can be a very good way to get the exact help that you need and you can choose the staff who work with you and when.

What can a Personal Assistant (PA) do?

A Personal Assistant, or PA, is someone who assists a person who has care or support needs in their own home and local community. A PA can help the person they assist to live their life as they want to, this may include:

  • Helping with personal care (washing, using the toilet or bathing)
  • Preparing food and drinks
  • Assisting with shopping or paying bills
  • Helping someone access education, work, social or leisure activities

If you use a Direct Payment to employ a PA the things that you ask the PA to do MUST be based on what has been agreed in your Care and Support Plan. If you want other help you can still use the same PA(s) but you will need to fund this yourself from your income (such as benefits and wages) or your savings. 

    Being an Employer - Help and information

    If you choose to employ your own staff then (legally) you become their employer and you will then have a number of legal, financial and practical responsibilities such as:

    • advertising for staff, interviewing and recruiting
    • employment contracts, supervision and training
    • employers liability insurance
    • paying wages, national insurance and income tax
    • sick pay, maternity pay and holiday pay
    • arrangements when your staff are unable to support you e.g. when they are ill.

    If you are interested in employing your own staff there is a lot of help and information available. You can have help to support you to employ your own staff,  this can be:

    • information about what being an employer will mean on a day to day basis
    • help to find and recruit staff
    • help to write contracts and set up the correct insurances
    • help to set up your wages system (payroll arrangements)
    • ongoing payroll help

    Local Support

    The council has an arrangement with a local support service to help people who use their Direct Payments to employ their own staff and the worker who is helping to develop your care and support plan will discuss the help you might need and will make sure that you are put in touch with the appropriate part of the service.

    National Support

    National based sources of information include:

    Self-Employed Personal Assistants

    It is very important to be clear if the Personal Assistant that you use is employed by you or is self-employed. Someone may be registered as self-employed for another job they have but this may not apply to the job they will have when working for you. You should check this with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), they do not often recognise a Personal Assistant as being self-employed for tax purposes. You must be absolutely sure before you make any contractual arrangements with potential staff. 

    If the person is recognised as self-employed by HMRC you will not become the employer. They must provide you with insurance cover and they can choose if and when they work for you. Please be aware that if HMRC decide at a later date that the person is employed, you may incur additional costs as you could become liable for tax and national insurance payments backdated from when they started working for you.

    Finding a Personal Assistant

    There are several ways that you can find  a Personal Assistant:

    Connection Support - PA Register Team

    Connection Support - PA Register Team contact information