Hiring a personal assistant (PA) to help with your daily needs can make life easier. Before you recruit someone, make sure you understand what you need to do legally when employing a PA.
These rules apply if you’re hiring a PA to work for you and you have a contract. You are an employer. They are an employee.
These rules do not apply to you if:
an employer, such as a local authority or care agency, provides your personal assistant
your PA is self-employed
Check the contract with your PA is legal
Your PA might not be self-employed if their contract says they must work a set number of hours. If your PA is able to send someone else to do the work, this could change their employment status. They could be a:
A DBS check, formerly known as a CRB check, checks the applicant’s criminal record. Your PA needs to have a DBS check. If they do not, they should apply and pay for this. Ask for this as a condition of employment.
a personal reference from someone who is not a direct family member and has known the applicant for a number of years
It’s better if the personal reference is from someone with a position of trust in the community, such as a youth club leader, teacher or health professional.
Create an employment contract
An employment contract is an agreement. It should describe the job and the tasks required, the hours of work, pay, holiday and notice periods. Include the job description as part of the contract.
When you employ a PA, you should give them a contract when they start. Legally, you must agree on a contract before they have been working for you for 2 months. During the probation period you can dismiss someone without giving a reason.
You may wish to include a probationary period of 3 to 6 months in the contract. This makes it easier to dismiss someone early on if they are not suitable.
This could be weekly or monthly by bank transfer. Do not pay in cash. Decide what is best for both of you. If your personal budget is monthly, it makes sense to pay monthly.
Register as an employer and take out liability insurance
You should register as an employer 4 weeks before your PA starts work.
It’s also important to take out employer’s liability insurance. This will cover you against your employee having accidents at work. If you and your PA will be leaving the house frequently, you may also need to take out public liability insurance. If your PAs are funded by direct payments, you can ask your local authority and they will start liability insurance.
There are things you must do after you've hired your PA or support worker.
Pay at least the National Minimum Wage
You should pay your PA at least the National Minimum Wage. You can decide how much you pay above this level. But if you pay too much, you might run out of personal budget. You may choose to pay your PA the living wage.
You will need to deduct Income Tax and National Insurance from your employee's wages and pay these to the HMRC (tax office). You must run a payroll to calculate the amount of pay and tax deductions. You can pay an accountant or a payroll service to do this.
You must submit your payroll and pay to the tax office every month by cheque or bank transfer. Give your personal assistant an electronic or paper payslip on or before payday. Payroll software can produce these for you or you can use an online template.