If you need to arrange home care for yourself or an elderly/disabled family member and you want to look at hiring someone, there are a few stages that you have to work through from advertising your position, to recruitment and managing them as a member of staff. You also have certain responsibilities as an employer that you have to ensure are met. We have a detailed guide to hiring a paid carer, which goes through all of these stages step by step.

HMRC has some good advice for new employers. You need to register with them as a new employer, supply your employee’s details and provide a payslip, with details of deductions that you need to make for tax and National Insurance. There are various bits of payroll software that you can get for your computer to help you with the calculations. If this sounds like something you don’t want to take on, then another option is to use a payroll agency or service. The company will do deal with HMRC for you, make the deductions and issue payslips, and tell you how much money to pay to where. You’re the Boss offers a payroll service solely for people who are hiring paid carers or support workers.  If you are interested in this then we would register you with HMRC as an employer and then apply to be your agent, meaning that we get all the information from HMRC.  We sort out payslips, tax, NI and Auto Enrollment and just tell you who and how to pay when you need to pay it.

Whether or not your paid carer is employed or self-employed is not a matter of choice. HMRC has a range of criteria that determine employment status and you need to ensure that you make the right declaration. At a very basic level, if your neighbour is going to be looking after you and no one else, and you set the hours, the tasks and the level of pay, then she will be employed by you and you need to ensure that you meet your employer responsibilities. If you are just one client of a number of people that she works with, then she may be self-employed instead.

In terms of responsibility and administrative tasks, then yes, using an agency could be easier. You sign up with the agency, tell them your requirements and they send a carer out to you. You do need to bear in mind a few points, such as the fact that you will probably pay a higher hourly rate, as the agency needs its cut as well as paying the carer. You will also find that the carer works on a time slot basis, so they might have a short visit allocated. Also, it may not always be the same carer every time. Using an agency is, however, the right decision for many people, just make sure that you know all your care and support options before deciding.

DBS (formerly known as CRB) check searches a person’s details against criminal records and other sources, including the Police National Computer. The check may reveal convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings.   Obviously you may wish to know if the person caring for you or a family member has any convictions etc, however it’s not that easy.

People employing or contracting with a Paid Carer do not have the right to undertake or request a DBS check they have to use another organisation (such as YtB) who undertakes a suitability check – part of which includes an enhanced DBS check.    Through engaging or employing someone who is YtB Accredited you know that they have undergone and enhanced DBS check (in line with our Safeguarding Policy) and have the right to work in the UK.  If they’re self-employed you also then know that they have insurance in place (but you should ask to see a copy), and have guaranteed they’ll use a fair contract, have in place risk assessment, safeguarding and complaints policies.

Click here to find out more about YtB Accreditation.

If you employ a carer, whether through direct payments, individual budgets or personal funds, then you need to have Employer’s Liability Insurance (ELI). This protects you in case the person that you have employed is injured or ill while they are working for you and they seek compensation against you. You can be fined by the Health and Safety Executive if you do not have the right insurance in place as an employer. The price of your policy will be given for a whole year, but many companies will let you pay on a monthly basis. Have a look around at the different companies offering ELI, as some packages will have extras included in the price.

If you are using a self-employed carer, then you are not required to have ELI as the paid carer must have their own insurance in place, but it is still advisable to err on the side of caution and get yourself insured. Always ask to see the insurance certificate of a self-employed carer before allowing them to work with you.   You’re the Boss has taken a look around at some of the companies that provide insurance in this area and links to them can be found here

You could simply start by having a look at the YtB Carers Register to find a carer near to you.

If you don’t see anyone suitable then you’ll need to advertise the position that you have available, making sure that the advert has all of the details that are important to you – if you have a minimum level of experience or qualifications, for example, and a brief overview of expected tasks. You need to decide how people apply and then hold interviews from your shortlisted applicants. The interview is an important step, as you can tell more about a person face to face than you can on paper, so make sure you are prepared with questions you want to ask. Finally, you choose your employee and make a formal job offer.

There are no legal requirements for paid carers to have any qualifications, though there are plenty of certifications available. It is up to you when you are recruiting a paid carer to determine what is important to you in terms of qualifications. You may prefer that your employee has had basic training, such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care. If you have a specific condition, like dementia, then training in this area would be useful. However, experience counts for a lot in social care and home care, so ask for examples of tasks carried out, experience with certain conditions and needs, and get references from previous clients if you can. This will all help you make a good recruitment decision.