If you have eligible needs for care and you choose to receive a direct payment from the council, you might consider hiring a personal assistant to help you meet those needs.
What are personal assistants?
A personal assistant is someone who can provide you with support to help you live independently. Personal assistants carry out a wide range of tasks, for example, they can help you to get dressed, cook, or can support you to go out and about.
Things you need to know about employing your own personal assistant
If you hire a personal assistant you become an employer and there are a number of responsibilities that come with this, including:
- drawing up a contract of employment
- checking and signing their time sheets
- making sure they work to their job description and the hours agreed in their contract
- putting alternative support arrangements in place when your employees take their holidays or are off work due to sickness
- ensuring up to date Employers’ Liability Insurance is in place
- processing payroll and paying your employee(s)
- issuing payslips for your employee(s)
- paying a pension contribution, where applicable
- and liaising with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to make sure you have paid the appropriate tax and submitting all HMRC monthly and annual returns.
Some people find these responsibilities quite daunting, if this is the case, a council-approved organisation calledcan help you with information and guidance.
Deciding how much to pay your personal assistant
You must pay them at least the National Minimum Wage. The calculation for the minimum wage is based on the full amount (gross) before any tax, National Insurance and other deductions have been taken off.
Find out more information about the National Minimum Wage and the rates you must pay.
On average the typical hourly rate for a Personal Assistant is around £8.50 per hour, which is above the national minimum wage.
You need to make sure that the hourly rate you choose is affordable, based on your direct payment amount, and can be maintained in the long term. You will also need to factor in:
- tax and National Insurance
- sick leave
- holiday pay
- insurance (required by law)
- training costs
- contributions towards a work pension – more information.
- maternity payments (if applicable).
Self-employed personal assistants
It is your responsibility to make sure your personal assistant’s employment status is correct and you should think carefully before treating them as self-employed.
The council cannot accept liability in the event of penalties or fines being imposed by HMRC. You can find out more about determining whether or not your personal assistant’s employment status is correct by visiting www.gov.uk and entering 'employment status' in the search field.
Further information about employing a personal assistant
The organisation Skills for Care, have information and toolkits which provide detailed information for people employing personal assistants
Support with Confidence scheme
The Support with Confidence scheme was developed by Oxfordshire County Council with Trading Standards. It aims to give peace of mind to people wishing to employ a personal assistant.
The Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers (OACP) is running the scheme in Oxfordshire and details can be found at this website
Finding an approved personal assistant
Finding your own personal care at home support
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