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Monday, 27 June 2011

Your responsibilities when employing a professional carer

If you employ a carer directly, you will take on certain responsibilities as an employer. This is the case regardless of whether you employ someone for a few hours a week or full-time.

Tax

As an employer you may be responsible for deducting tax and National Insurance from your employee's wages. You will then need to pay 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 pay 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)

You can find out more about your responsibilities for providing these things in the 'employment' section of Directgov.

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 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.

Your local council must include the cost of Employer's Liability Insurance if you're getting direct payments to pay for your care.

You can find out more about both types of liability insurance on the Business Link 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. You must do this 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

There is an interactive tool available on the Business Link website to help you create a written statement of employment.

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