Using direct payments to employ a PA

You might choose to use direct payments from your personal budget to employ a personal assistant (PA). This can give you an extra level of support and freedom. If you do hire your own PA, you’ll need to know about your responsibilities as an employer.

Your local authority should give you information about hiring a PA. Ask them when you’re discussing direct payments from your personal budget.

Find out how to recruit a personal assistant

Employing someone legally

If you use your direct payments to pay a PA or any other support staff, you are an employer.

If you are an employer, there are things you must do before you hire someone and while they are working for you.

How to employ a PA legally

Hiring your PA through an agency

If you hire care staff through a home care agency, the agency is the employer. You’ll have less control over choosing your carers, but this may be the best choice if you’re not confident being an employer.

You can search for homecare services (NHS) or ask your local authority for a list of home care agencies in your area.

Self-employed personal assistants

It may be possible to recruit a self-employed personal assistant. This means the PA is responsible for paying their own tax and National Insurance. You should check that they are classed as self-employed before you hire them.

Managing a personal assistant

To have a good relationship with your PA, you should set out what you expect them to do and when.

Warning Job description and person specification

A job description states what the job involves and what your PA is expected to do. You should also create a person specification detailing the skills and experience you require the candidate to have.

These formal documents will help resolve any issues you and your PA might have in the future.

Building a good relationship with your PA

Skills for Care has a guide to managing your personal assistant and a series of online booklets that cover the range of issues related to hiring a PA.

Your local authority should be able to provide you with a lot of advice and support. You can find more information on the NHS home help webpage.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 13/12/2018

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