What do I need to think about if I am paying someone to help me?
Employing your own staff (normally called a personal assistant), rather than using an agency to find them for you can give you a lot more choice and control over who you have to help you and what they do for you. However it can be complicated and will mean that you are taking on some extra responsibilities.
You will need to work out if your personal assistant is employed by you, or self-employed.
Someone is employed by you if:
- you decide the hours that they work and what they do for you
- you provide them with the equipment that they need to do their job (this might be things like protective gloves or aprons for instance)
- you are the person who is responsible for arranging a replacement if they are absent from work
The factsheets and websites below have a lot more information and advice about employing personal assistants:
- Taking on a personal assistant
- Tell HMRC about a new employee
- Information, help and resources for anyone taking on a personal assistant
You might also find this HMRC Employment Status Indicator useful in deciding if your assistant is employed or self-employed.
If you use your direct payment to pay someone to help you on a regular basis, it is important to remember that the person will be treated as being in work for the hours that you pay them for, and this may affect some benefits and tax credits that they may be getting. They should tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and/or HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about their work.
You may decide that you would like family or close friends to help you with being an employer, or you may want to use a specialist service to help you.
Disability Rights UK has a free telephone and email advice line for self-directed support. This can include general advice about employing personal assistants. You can contact them on 0300 555 1525 or email email@example.com
ACAS also has a free helpline and web based advice service for employers. You can call them on 0300 123 1100.
From April 2015 family members who are helping you to be an employer, by helping you to manage your payroll system for instance are able to make a reasonable charge for helping you. If a family member or friend is helping you to manage being an employer, they should not normally also be a paid employee of yours.
We have been working with the Suffolk Brokerage to create a PA Finder to try and make the process easier.