Employing a personal assistant - FAQs

Some adults need help to carry out everyday activities, it may be because you have general health problems or a physical or learning disability, and it could be because you have hearing or sight problems or because you are simply getting older and finding life a bit more difficult. Daily tasks like getting washed and dressed can be difficult for some but in some cases, you just need help with getting out and about, going to the gym, to the pictures or even just down to the pub.

A personal assistant (PA) is someone who is paid to help you in any aspect of your day-to-day life. In most cases, they are employed by you and you will pay tax and National Insurance contributions for them. A Personal Assistant employed by you has employment rights and is entitled to holidays and sick pay. The terms and conditions of work such as start and finish times and hours of work are agreed with you at the start of the employment just like in any other job.

Personal assistants can be employed by you the customer or a family member or representative, not Derby City Council.

The Personal Assistant Register is a web-based directory of personal assistants who can provide care and support services to other adults. The aim of the register is to make it easier for you to find personal assistants and for personal assistants to have a place to advertise their skills and availability, therefore creating a more productive service.

The primary role of the Disclosure and Barring Service (previously known as the Criminal Records Bureau) is to help employers make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially that involve children or vulnerable adults.

You can find out more about the Disclosure and Barring Service and how to arrange for a check to be completed on the GOV.UK website.

We strongly recommend that you arrange for a disclosure and barring service check before you employ someone as a personal assistant. This is your responsibility and it is not something that Derby City Council are involved in.

The Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines and standards defining ‘good practice’ that personal assistants who are on the Register sign up to.  Whilst it is not a contract or legal document and does not replace a job description or disciplinary procedures you should, if employing a personal assistant, use the Code of Conduct to monitor their practice and service delivery to you.

Personal Assistant Code of Conduct‌ for your records.

The personal assistant's direct contact details are available on the register. You can contact them directly to discuss their suitability and to arrange an interview. If you need support to do this you can ask your friends, relatives or contact your social care worker or care manager.

Interviews can take place anywhere of your choice. Normally this would be at your home or a suitable venue. We would strongly recommend you do not conduct the interviews alone.

If you are employing a personal assistant you will need to comply with employment law and provide all the necessary paperwork in order to register them as an employee. Your payroll service will provide you the forms required and liaise with the Inland Revenue in order to register both employer and employee. If you want to do the payroll yourself, you can register with the HMRC here: www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/intro/register.htm

Please remember, you, a family member or representative will be the employer, not Derby City Council.

Employing your own personal assistant can sound daunting. The good news is there is lots of help available. Visit our Employing a personal assistant page for more information and advice on becoming an employer.

Your personal assistant will need to be registered with the Inland Revenue as self-employed. This means they will be issued with a UTR number (Unique Tax Reference).

This does not necessarily mean they will be self-employed by you in this role.

Your personal assistant will need to confirm with the Inland Revenue as the role with you can also be classed as self-employed. You must get proof of this or you may be liable to pay their Tax and National Insurance contributions. Even if you have confirmed your PA is self-employed, they may still be eligible for statutory payments under employment law.

You will be responsible for paying the personal assistant. If you choose to complete your own payroll and your personal assistant earns over the Tax threshold or has another job, you are required to:

  • register with the HMRC
  • provide regular payslips to your employees
  • calculate Tax and National Insurance contributions
  • Ensure all other deductions have been made in accordance with statutory regulations e.g. student loans, CSA, fines, government deductions etc.
  • submit payments for Tax and National Insurance contributions to HMRC
  • calculate annual leave entitlements for all employees
  • record annual leave and sickness
  • submit all necessary documents to HMRC, p46’s, p60’s and p45’s etc
  • complete tax returns on-line annually
  • Make statutory payments when required e.g. SSP, SMP, and SPP etc.
  • ensure minimum wage hourly rates are increased in line with annual and age related increases
  • adhere to legal obligations and confidentially store records for 6 years

There is help available through different organisations including HMRC and Skills for Care

Employing your own personal assistant can sound daunting. The good news is there is lots of help available. Visit our Employing a personal assistant page for information and advice on becoming an employer.

The 2008 Pensions Act changed the law on workplace pensions. Starting from 2012 to 2018, all employers will be legally required to automatically enrol eligible staff (including personal assistants) into a pension scheme and make on-going contributions to the scheme. Eligible works are those aged from 22 to state pension age and earning more than £10,000 a year. This duty includes individuals that employ workers for their own care and support.

The Department for Work and Pensions website has more information for you as an employer.

In addition to the financial responsibilities that you will have as an employer there are other obligations that you will have. You or your representative will need to:

  • provide a contract of employment (within two months of the start date) containing legally binding terms and conditions
  • provide a job description detailing all duties
  • adhere to employment law regulations
  • check that the personal assistant is legally entitled to work in the UK
  • adhere to European Working Time Directive regulations
  • provide grievance and disciplinary procedures
  • adhere to Health and Safety regulations
  • ensure staff are fully covered with Employers and Public Liability Insurance
  • offer (if employing a minimum of five employees) and arrange stakeholder pensions
  • offer reasonable adjustments for any employee with specific needs.

This may seem like a daunting process but there is help available, for example, Skill for care has an excellent toolkit designed for people like you who want to become an employer. Visit our Employing a personal assistant page for more information and advice on becoming an employer.

Personal assistants can access training provided by the Council. It will give them the skills and confidence they need to carry out their job effectively and will also ensure that they know what to do in an emergency or who to contact if there are any problems. There will be a charge for any training the personal assistant attends.

Training will also help to protect both you and them from injury by being shown the correct way of helping someone to stand up for example. The training will give them a good basic overall knowledge of Social Care work and they can choose to go on and study further with having already had some basic knowledge of the care sector.

As the employer, you are responsible for dealing with any work-related problems, such as poor timekeeping or rudeness by following your disciplinary procedures. If the problem is more serious and if you are the victim of abuse, or you think you know someone who is being or has been abused, it is really important to get help and advice.

Contact the Safeguarding team and we will take your concerns seriously.

Our office hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Outside office hours please contact Careline, our out-of-hours emergency social care service.

You can also call the local Police non-emergency number 101.

If something needs to be done straight away to protect someone from abuse or harm, please call 999 immediately.