Hiring a carer in 2018 – what you need to know
By: Philippa Harrington, On: 26 September 2018
The role carers play in society is invaluable. Carers provide additional assistance to people who need it, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions and disabilities. When a carer takes care of a person in their own home, it helps the individual to maintain their independence while making the more difficult daily tasks much more manageable.
Carers assist with all sorts of duties, which can include:
- Preparation of meals
- Assistance with medication
- Personal care (dressing and hygiene)
- Other personal tasks, such as contacting people on your behalf
If you employ a carer directly, rather than through a care agency, it means you are an employer. This brings a certain number of responsibilities towards your employee. Before hiring your own carer, here are some things you should consider:
By law, you will be required to at least pay your carer the equivalent of the National Minimum Wage. Some carers may set their own rates of pay based on their skills and experience, and you may wish to negotiate a wage based on these.
The minimum wage changes every April. In 2018, the current minimum wage rates are as follows:
- Age 25 and over: £7.83
- Age 21 to 24: £7.38
- Age 18 to 20: £5.90
- Under 18: £4.20
Paid leave & time off
As an employee, your carer will have an entitlement to holidays, sick pay and any other time off which is required by the law. As an employer, you will be able to decide how many days’ holiday you provide your employee with, as well as setting their sick pay rate, as long as it falls in line with current employment law. In 2018, UK workers are currently entitled to 28 days’ holiday a year. Employees who are too sick to work may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, which equates to £92.05 per week in 2018.
There are laws in place which prevent employees from working too many hours. The maximum working hours you set for your carer should comply with the restrictions and limits as per the law. In 2018, employees cannot by law work more than 48 hours a week. If your carer is under 18, they cannot work more than 40 hours a week (8 hours a day).
Workers are also entitled to one 20-minute break each day, if they work more than 6 hours in a day. These breaks do not have to be paid, and whether the employee receives payment will be subject to your employment contract. This contract should highlight the role, responsibilities and tasks of the employee, as well as their job title.
When hiring a carer, you will be required by law to get Employers’ Liability Insurance. This insurance is a legal requirement, and without it you could run the risk of being fined up to £2,500 for each day that you are not covered. It is therefore imperative to sort out a policy as soon as possible.
Public Liability Insurance should also be considered. This is optional but will protect you against any injury or damage your carer causes to another person while they are working for you.
Fish Insurance specialises in offering insurance for those with disabilities or pre-existing medical conditions and our Independent Living insurance includes both Employers’ and Public Liability cover, protecting you if your employee injures either themselves or someone else while working for you. You can find out more about the other benefits of our insurance cover here.
Right to work in the UK
Any prospective employees will need to be vetted to make sure they can legally work in the United Kingdom. During the recruitment process, you should request to see passports and other ID, including visas. You should also make copies of these documents for your own records.
Employees should also be aware that potential changes to legislation after the EU referendum could affect an employee’s status to work in the UK. While no changes to legislation have been made at present, this could potentially change from March 2019 onwards.
Valid DBS checks
All people who work with vulnerable adults and children are required by law to undergo DBS (Discolsure and Barring Service) checks. The purpose of these checks is to highlight whether any prospective employees have a criminal record, and whether they are suitable for a role as a carer – for example, some crimes may prohibit certain individuals from working with vulnerable people for a definite or indefinite period.
Employers have a responsibility to ensure that all prospective employees employing for a carers’ role have valid, up-to-date DBS checks. It is important to obtain a copy of this documentation before offering a prospective employee an interview.