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5 things to think about before employing a carer

Employing a carer or personal assistant is a way of getting the support you need to ensure you can live as independently as possible in your own home. But, being an employer comes with plenty of rules and regulations that you need to be aware of.

1. How are you going to find a suitable carer?

Some people have a carer or personal assistant provided by the council. If you receive funding from the council or Government for care in your home, you can choose to receive this money as Direct Payments, allowing you to employ a carer directly instead. There are a few different ways you can go about finding and employing a carer.

Home Care Agencies will help to provide you with a carer. You pay them and they take care of all the finances; wages, taxes, and insurance. In this case, you would not be classed as the employer; the care agency would take on this role.

This solution suits many people. But for some, maybe those who prefer having the same carer each day, or have a say in who delivers their care, employing the carer themselves is important.

Employing a carer directly gives you lots of benefits. You will be able to have more control over who you employ and the terms of their employment contract. However, employing a carer or PA directly means that you legally become the employer.

2. Do you know what holidays, breaks, and pay your carer will be entitled to?

If you employ a carer or PA directly, it’s your responsibility to write a contract of employment and make sure both you and your employee know what to expect. This contract will need to include the holiday entitlement, wages, and working hours of your employee.

There is a lot of regulation surrounding the amount of hours your carer can work and the breaks they are entitled to take. These regulations apply to every line of work and are there to protect the work/life balance. It’s important to research all the rules and regulations before drawing up an employment contract.

Your carer will also be entitled to a certain amount of holidays throughout the year. It’s important to set up a process for your employee letting you know which holidays they want to take so that you can arrange alternate care in their absence.

You can find out more about the legal side of employing a carer from HMRC.

3. Do you know how to deal with difficult situations like employee absence or lateness?

This is especially true if the person you employ as a carer is a relative or family friend.
It’s important to remember that even though you may have a friendly relationship with your carer, they are still your employee and must be treated as such during working hours.

It’s important that you set out a policy for absence and timekeeping with your employee when they first start working for you. This could include requiring them to phone in by a given time on each day of absence and having a return to work interview to make sure there are no underlying issues. Return to work interviews can help you to figure out if there are any problems that are causing repeated absences, such as problems at home.

4. Do you have insurance?

Having Employers’ Liability insurance is a legal requirement. If you’re employing a carer or PA and don’t have Employer’s Liability insurance you could be fined up to £2,500 for each day you are without cover.

Our Independent Living insurance includes p to £10m Employers’ Liability cover and up to £5m Public Liability cover with prices starting from just £67*.

5. Do you know what to do if you need advice on employment law and legislation?

There are some great websites out there that can offer generic advice and information about being an employer. However, if you’re covered by our Independent Living Insurance policy, you will get access to a 24-hour help and advice line provided by Peninsula, the UK’s leading specialist Employment Law, HR, and Health & Safety service. Peninsula are there to answer your questions whether they are general, or specific to your personal situation. They can also help to make sure you comply with all Employment Laws, assisting with contracts, and providing legal advice. They provide over 18,000 pieces of advice to Fish policy holders every year, making them well placed to understand the unique needs of Direct Payment employers.

Limitations & exclusions apply to all Fish Insurance policies. Fish Insurance is a trading name of Fish Administration Limited, which is authorised & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for insurance mediation activities only. Fish Administration Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company no. 4214199.
*Includes a £10 introductory discount on your first year Independent Living Basic Cover Insurance only. Not applicable to any other policy. New customers only. Offer ends 31/12/2016.
Please note that this content was correct at time of publication (09.12.2016). From time to time, changes in regulation may impact the accuracy of the information provided.

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