Employing a carer – what you need to consider

Employing a carer – what you need to consider

  • By Nick
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Whether you pay for your own help or receive a personal budget, there are three options for getting a paid carer, the first is employing a carer directly.

Employing a carer directly

There are many advantages to employing someone directly, for example, additional freedom and flexibility in choosing your own carer, potentially employing someone you already know like a family friend or neighbour. If you are considering employing a paid carer directly, you will assume all of the rights and responsibilities of an employer. This means that you can:

  • Set the hours that they work
  • Give them instructions an what they need to do
  • Expect them to do the work themselves rather than being able to send a substitute

On this website, you can get lots of information on becoming an employer, and we’ve also pulled it all together into a employment booklet which covers

  • Recruitment
  • Legal responsibilities of becoming an employer
  • What to include in a contract of employment
  • Employee holiday and how to calculate holiday pay, including a free sample employment contract
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Template contract of employment
  • Employer’s liability insurance
  • Providing personal protective equipment to your employee

This can be found in the shop, or is free to premium members.

It all sounds complicated and many people are put off employing some directly because of complications of running payroll, but it really doesn’t have to be.  By using a Payroll service (such as the one that YtB offers), the issues of paying your staff, complying with pension and HMRC requirements are all taken care of for you.


You should note that on top of the employee’s hourly rate, the following need to be considered:

  • You will need to set up a system for paying wages and produce a wage slip (you can use a payroll service to do this for you)
  • When your employee is on holiday, you will need to find someone else to cover their work. This means that you will effectively have to pay twice, as you will pay your employee while they are on holiday and the person providing cover for the period
  • You may need to pay Employer’s National Insurance contributions (but for many people employing a carer this is covered by Employment Allowance)
  • You will need to supply general equipment and personal protective equipment
  • You need to know what happens in the event of death or moving into residential care

If you don’t wish to employ them directly then there are other options.  However, it is worth noting that HMRC has views on whether someone is employed or self-employed.  So if you were considering contracting with someone they you will need to make sure that HMRC would agree that they’re self-employed.


Contracting with someone enables you to purchase services from an organisation or individual without employing them directly. You should still have a contract with them that clearly sets out expectations and rules of engagement, but it will not contain employment responsibilities. You will need to ensure that if you are contracting to an individual they can not be considered an employee. There are some simple questions you can ask to give an indication as to whether this might be the case.

Using an agency or service provider is historically the route that most people have taken. There are organisations set up that specifically deal with finding and providing paid carers. These companies will be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and will assume all of the responsibilities associated with employing a paid carer, including completing all of the standard checks around a person’s suitability to provide the services you require. You should expect to pay a higher hourly rate for your care and support if it is provided via this route. You may also lose the level of flexibility we have outlined above. For example, research shows that carers who support you may change frequently and the times that they arrive may vary at each visit

Contracting with an agency or provider

You may find employing someone directly will be more cost effective than working with an agency or using a provider, as they will undoubtedly add their business costs onto the hourly rate of the carer they provide. When deciding what salary or hourly rate to pay, you can look at local papers or online recruitment websites to see what other people are offering in your area for similar jobs.

  • Published on May 08, 2018

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