Are You Thinking of Hiring a Personal Care Assistant in 2023?

Are You Thinking of Hiring a Personal Care Assistant in 2023?
Finding, meeting and hiring the right PA to enable someone in their home can make all the difference to your loved one

What you need to know about hiring a personal care assistant - from funding them to finding, hiring, paying and managing them

Are You Self-funding or Seeking Support?

Who pays for a personal care assistant's salary will depend on the individual’s situation. As people’s needs can vary greatly, so too can the costs of providing care. It is essential to consider both the short and long term financial implications. Depending on the individual's situation, if you are not self-funding the care, there are some sources of funding available for personal care assistants.

Local authorities may be able to help fund care needs through their social service departments and may take the form of a direct payment or a personal healthcare budget. LA funding will only be an option for those who meet eligibility criteria. Generally speaking, these requirements involve assessing the individual’s need for care and support, their financial situation and any other relevant factors.

This assessment should include details about the type of care required, any existing medical condition or physical disability, and any other factors that might influence their ability to receive support. You can begin by contacting your local social services department for more information. This department should be able to provide relevant information regarding eligibility criteria and the types of assistance that may be available.

Where Should You Look for a Suitable PA?

Regardless of how you are paying for the support, there are two primary options on how to employ a PA - direct employment or engaging with a care agency. Depending on the individual's situation and needs, one of these options may be more suitable than the other. And, if you are not funding yourself and are being supported by your LA, they may advise you on which route is appropriate to your situation.

Direct employment can be a cost-effective option for those who require ongoing long-term care and have the financial resources available. Although this type of employment will require you be more involved, it can offer more flexibility, as caregivers can provide tailored services to meet your individual needs. This type of arrangement also allows for greater control over the selection process and management of the employee, enabling employers not only to select an experienced and professional caregiver, but also to be build a personal rapport with the person who will be coming to your home on a regular basis.

Care agencies can be a more expensive route but should allow for hands-off management of the care that is being delivered. The agency will be responsible for sending PAs to your home and also for arranging cover for during sickness or holidays.

While care agencies may offer access to experienced and professionally trained caregivers, there is no guarantee that the caregiver selected will always be a perfect fit. When talking to your local care agency, ask to if your PA will be regular and suggest meeting in advance if possible. It is also a good idea to ask the agency about how flexible they are when it comes to the services they provide, as many contracts are set for specific lengths of time. This can mean that even if the individual’s needs change mid-way through a contract, the care agency will be unable to adapt accordingly. This could lead to an inadequate level of care and support being provided, or the individual not being able to access the services they need.

What Do You Need to be Sure of Before Hiring Someone?

Whichever employment route is chosen - direct or via an agency -it will be essential to ensure that your PA is adequately trained and experienced in providing the care required, as well as having the emotional maturity and capacity to handle any challenging situations that may arise.

If you are choosing your own PA and hiring them directly, it will also be important to ensure that rigorous background checks are carried out. This includes both a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, and personal references from two previous and recent employers. The DBS check will reveal any criminal convictions or cautions held against an individual. These checks will give an employer an insight into the PA's background, overall character and past working habits. Furthermore, conducting a professional reference check can provide employers with an understanding of the individual's qualifications, experience, and areas of expertise which could be beneficial for their needs.

How Do You Set Yourself Up as An Employer?

If you choose the direct employment route, you will need to set yourself up as individual employer in the UK and HMRC and payroll considerations will have to be taken into account. It is essential that employers register with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within three months of paying their employee’s wages or paying expenses for their work.  

When setting up as an individual employer in the UK, apart from HMRC and payroll considerations, there are a few ways depending on the personal care assistant's employment status. Depending on contract length, employers may be able to choose the following option for setting up their payroll: a Business PAYE Scheme (BPS).

A Business PAYE Scheme (BPS) is a great option for employers looking to set up payroll for their personal care assistant. Under the BPS scheme, employers can choose to pay their employee bi-weekly or monthly based on the contract length. This scheme allows employers to register with HMRC, and pay their employee’s salary.

When employing a personal care assistant in the UK, it is important to ensure they are provided with all their necessary entitlements. These include the right to be paid at least minimum wage, as well as holiday pay and statutory sick pay.

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It may seem daunting becoming an employer but we can support you through this process step by step. Contact UKCIL today for more information.