You must be aware of individual rights that your personal assistant (PA) may be entitled to.
Employment law gives your PA a number of other rights and protections in addition to those to do with their pay, hours and holidays.
Some apply to your PA as soon as they start work; others depend on factors such as length of service and continuity of employment. For certain rights, various groups of people are excluded.
We give you some basic guidance about some of the most common individual employment rights and protections in this section and also tell you where to find further help so that you can try and fully understand what your obligations are.
As stated in our introductory section, the information provided on our website about the various employment law rules and regulations should be taken as a guide only and not a comprehensive statement of the law.
Click on each of the + signs below to find out more about each area.
The main circumstances where your PA has the right to time off are for:
- Annual leave – see more in our pay and conditions section
- If they are ill – see more in our statutory sick pay section
- If they have a child – see more in our parental pay and leave section
Your PA may be entitled to other time off, e.g. for jury service; time off for public duties if they hold a public position such as a member of a local authority or Justice of the Peace; time off for study or training; time off to deal with unexpected or sudden emergencies involving a dependent.
You can find out more about each of these on the GOV.UK website.
You will have to think about options for arranging cover when your PA is on off work for whatever reason – an agency, for example, may be able to provide cover. If you get support from the Government by way of direct payments, you may receive extra money to cover the costs of a stand-in PA from an agency.
Itemised pay statement
This is the case even if you are not required to make any tax or National Insurance deductions from their pay.
Unlawful deductions from wages
We look at when you can and cannot make a deduction from your PA’s wages in our paying wages section.
The Government now require employers to automatically enrol all eligible workers into a workplace pension scheme. This includes employers of PAs.
For more information on auto enrolment see our dedicated section.
Trade Union Membership
Your PA has the right to join or not join a trade union of their choice.
For more on this, see GOV.UK.
Health and safety issues
You have a legal responsibility to make sure that your PA remains safe and healthy while doing their job.
For information on what you must do, e.g. carry out a risk assessment on your home, including pets or any animals you keep, see the Health & Safety Executive’s website.
You will find templates for a safety in the home checklist and risk assessment in the 'Before your PA starts' Skills for Care toolkit.
Part time personal assistants
It is unlawful to treat part-time PAs less favourably than comparable full-timers, unless the less favourable treatment can be justified on objective grounds. See GOV.UK for more information.
This means part-time PAs should receive the same rates of pay and should not be treated less favourably in the criteria for selecting workers for promotion or redundancy for example.
The Equality Act came into force in 2010 and it prohibits direct or indirect discrimination because of a “protected characteristic” and covers age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and marriage and civil partnerships.
There are different kinds of discrimination.
Discrimination can include, for example:
- not hiring someone
- selecting a particular person for redundancy
- paying someone less than another worker without good reason
Discrimination does not have to be deliberate and intentional. You can discriminate indirectly with working conditions or rules that disadvantage one group of people more than another.
You can find more on preventing discrimination as an employer on GOV.UK.
ACAS also has lots of detailed information on discrimination in relation to the different protected characteristics.
Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended and is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. Employers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment – they are liable for any harassment suffered by their employees. See the GOV.UK website for more information.