Taking on a PA as an employee, even for only a few hours a week, brings with it almost the same range of issues that exist for a business employing thousands of workers. You may think this is excessive, but all employees, whether they work for a large or small employer, are given many rights in law to prevent them from being taken advantage of. Matters such as employment contracts, pay, working hours, holiday entitlement and the rights of workers in the workplace are all important areas for a new employer to get right.
Getting things right from the start, can prevent many problems from arising later.
To help you understand your responsibilities, we set out some basic guidance about the subjects you need to know about in the following sections with information on where to find more help.
- Employment law status – is your PA an employee, 'worker' or self-employed? Your responsibilities depend on the status of your PA
- Employing staff in more detail – find out more about employment contracts, pay, working hours, holiday entitlement and other rights and protections
- Employing people in your home – we explain some of the things you need to think about if you take on a PA in your home
Where can I get more help?
There is lots of information and some tools to help you in the 'Employing people' section of the GOV.UK website which we direct you to frequently.
On GOV.UK, you can also find the following introductory guides which you may find useful:
Your responsibilities as a new employer, including employment rights and checks you must make to ensure new employees are entitled to work in the UK.
This government guide dispels common misconceptions about taking somebody on if you are a first-time employer
The other places we refer you to throughout this section are:
Skills for Care
The Skills for Care toolkit helps individuals employ their own personal assistants. There are different sections within the toolkit including:
- Benefits of employing a PA
- Recruiting a PA
- Before your PA starts
- Managing your PA
- Training and qualifications
- Sorting out problems
There are also useful templates in the toolkit such as sample risk assessment and basic terms of employment template. There are also links to organisations you can access for more support and information.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) have expertise on employment matters. They have a Helpline that deals with issues relating to employment. The Helpline provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.
Call the Helpline on 0300 123 1100
Customers with a hearing or speech impairment may prefer to contact ACAS using the Text Relay service. You can contact the ACAS Helpline using Text Relay by dialling 18001 0300 123 1100. Your questions will be relayed to the Helpline adviser who answers the call and a real-time conversation will take place.
Alternatively, you can use Helpline Online. This automated system learns from your questions and, as more people use it, will get better at providing the most relevant answer to your query.
Also, you can find and/or download some free information from their website including eight step-by-step guides for small employers on how to hire, manage and get the best from staff and their booklet 'A Guide for new employers’. This is not specific to employers of personal assistants but nevertheless, contains some useful general information on the employment law issues involved in being an employer.