Why do you need to have a contract with your personal assistant (PA)?
This page gives some basic information about what a contract is, why you need one and where to get further help.
What is a contract of employment?
Does the contract need to be in writing?
What do I need to include in the contract?
Can I change the contract?
What is a written statement of particulars?
What should written particulars include?
Where can I find more information?
The employment relationship is based on a contract. A contract of employment is basically a legally binding agreement between you and your PA and shows that your PA has agreed to work for you and you have agreed to pay them for this work.
The contract does not need to be in writing (it can be verbal), but having the agreement in writing is likely to reduce the chances of dispute at a later date.
Subject to the various minimum rights and protections set out in employment law, you and your employee are free to agree on whatever terms and conditions you choose. Things that you have expressly agreed on, such as to do with pay and hours are called express terms.
You should be aware that there are some things that are deemed to be in an employment contract, whether they are actually there or not. For example, the duty of the employee to perform the work he or she is employed to do with care, skill and reasonable competence and the duty of the employer to take care of the employee’s health and safety. These are called implied terms because they are treated as being in the contract even if not written into it or agreed verbally.
You can find information on changing an employment contract on GOV.UK. This advises that usually, the employer and employee both need to agree to any contract changes.
If you are after more detail on this, or if you cannot agree any changes with your employee, we can point you in the direction of this ACAS guidance which covers the possibility of serving notice to terminate the existing contract and offering to re-engage the employee on new terms.
Even if you do not have a formal written contract, you must usually give your PA a written statement of their main terms and conditions within two months of them starting the job. Often, where the employment contract is in writing, the statement is contained within it.
This written statement must cover things like:
- Names of the employer and the employee
- Date when employment began
- The scale or rate of pay or method of calculating pay
- How often the PA is paid
- Entitlement to holidays including public holidays
- The title of the job that the PA is employed to do or a brief description of their work
This list above is not comprehensive. Your PA must also be given information about disciplinary rules and dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures but this does not need to be in the same written statement of particulars.
There is lots of information on employment contracts and written particulars on the ACAS website.
You can find information about contracts and a sample contract of employment on the Skills for Care website in their 'Before your PA starts' employer toolkit.
You can find also find lots of guidance on employment contracts and written particulars, including a template for written statement of particulars on GOV.UK.