Employing a Private Carer

If you want to employ a Personal Assistant or Carer in your home, there are a few steps to go through and legal requirements that you need to be aware of.

You may wish to use an agency, in which case a lot of the admin and responsibility is taken on by the agency rather than you. However, if you employ directly you have a lot more control over who the PA / Carer is (you may wish to employ a friend or relative, or simply somebody you have chosen because you like them and feel they match your requirements). You will also have more control over exactly what they do, how they do it, when they do it, and how much you pay them.

If you decide to employ a private PA / Carer, the following will help you:


If you want help with recruitment there are online resources in which to hire household staff and plenty of domestic staff recruitment agencies out there who will talk with you to understand your requirements and do the searching for you. Once they have found one or two candidates that they believe match your requirements you will meet them and decide whether they are right for you.

Alternatively, you can advertise locally and sift through CVs and conduct interviews yourself to find your perfect match.

Before letting anybody work in your home you should ensure they have had a recent DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service, to check their criminal record). You must also check they have the right to work in the UK, and it is a good idea to get references.



You must pay at least the National Minimum Wage, which is currently set at £7.20 per hour for anyone aged 25 or above, or £6.70 for employees aged 21 to 24, or £5.30 for people aged 18 to 20. These figures are all gross salaries. Gross means before tax and employee’s National Insurance is taken off. Net is the salary that your employee actually receives, after tax and employee’s National Insurance is deducted.

When setting a salary it is worth considering how much experience you want your employee to have, whether (s)he will have qualifications and the type of work and hours you wish them to work. Setting a salary with these considerations in mind will help you get the type of job applicants that you are hoping for.


Tax and National Insurance

As an employer, you will be responsible for paying tax and National Insurance. You can do this yourself but if you are not used to doing such things it is much easier to employ a specialist payroll company, such as Stafftax, to do it for you. As well as employee’s National Insurance you will also have to pay employer’s National Insurance, which is not counted in the gross salary but is an additional expense.

When you are determining a salary, ask a payroll company to calculate your total expenses, so that you know exactly how much you will be spending.


Employee Rights

Remember, as an employer you have a duty of care towards your employee. Employees have certain protected rights in the UK, such as:

Annual leave – a full time employee is entitled to 5.6 weeks’ annual leave per year, including bank holidays (or days off in lieu if they work bank holidays). To pro-rata this for part time, multiply the number of days worked per week by 5.6.

Sick pay – after three consecutive days of being off sick, employees have the right to statutory sick pay. You are not legally obliged to pay any salary for the first three days off sick, although employers often choose to do so.

Maternity / paternity leave and pay – expectant mothers and fathers will always be entitled to leave, and if they were working for you before the start of the pregnancy they will probably be entitled to pay as well, but maternity and paternity pay is provided by the government so is not an employer expense.

Payslips – employees are legally entitled to receive payslips so that they have proof of earnings, ie for mortgage applications.

Contract of Employment – employers are legally required to provide a Contract of Employment or written Statement of Employment Terms within eight weeks of their start date.


Help Available to Employers

If you decide to recruit your own PA / Carer it is probably a good idea to use a payroll company. A good, specialist domestic payroll company will do the following for you:

  • Issue a Contract of Employment
  • Register you as an employer with HMRC
  • Calculate how much you should pay your employee
  • Deal with sick pay and maternity / paternity pay
  • Tell you how much tax and National Insurance to pay and how to pay it
  • Provide payslips

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