If you are new to being a PA, you might like to find out more information.
The concept of Direct payments is a government initiative for people who are assessed as needing help from social services, and prefer to arrange and pay for their own care and support. Assistance such as mobility, help around the home and personal care are just a few examples of the type of support required.
Commonly asked questions are displayed below
Confidentiality is important for both you and your employer. Your employer will hold confidential information about you and you’ll have access to personal information about your employer. You should discuss, with your employer, who you can share information with, for example, their doctor, and under what circumstances. No information should be shared with anyone against your employer’s wishes. This includes sharing personal information about your employer on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter. However, in extreme circumstances, for example a medical emergency, or if you feel there’s a safeguarding issue, then you may have to share personal information without your employer’s consent. Confidential information should always be kept securely so that other people aren’t able
to access it.
In all cases, it’s recommended that you raise
any concerns with your employer sooner
rather than later, so that any issues/concerns
can be sorted out amicably.
However, if you’re unable to resolve the issue
directly and need employment advice you
can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and
Arbitration Service (ACAS). Find out more on
their website at: www.acas.org.uk.
You can also get advice from your union
(if you’re a member) or local support
organisations, for example peer groups.
Just as your employer will expect you to fulfil
your employment duties, you have a right
to expect your employer won’t do anything
which puts you in danger or ask you to break
If you feel that your employer is asking you
to do something that’s risky or goes against
what you’ve been trained to do, you should
speak with them. If this doesn’t sort out the
issues, then speak to others, for example the
employer’s family, friends or professionals
working with them.
Communication is vital to sorting out any
problems. The quicker it’s talked about the
faster it can be sorted, and it stops small
issues becoming larger problems.
There are no standards or codes of practice for
personal assistants, but it may be relevant for
your role to follow the ‘Dignity in Care’ advice
(available at: www.dignityincare.org.uk) and
the ‘Code of Practice for social care workers’
(available at: www.skillsforcare.org.uk/
codeofpractice). You should discuss this with
Personal assistants, under HMRC
rules, usually work under an employed
Skills for Care’s ‘Understanding the
employment status of personal assistants’
guide may be helpful, and you can
download it at: www.skillsforcare.org.uk/
You can also check any employment
arrangement directly with HMRC, by using
their ‘Check employment status for tax’
tool at: www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax
As an employee you’re entitled to statutory
sick pay, and the details should be included
in your employment contract. Your employer
should have a plan in place if you’re unable
to work and for when you’re on holiday. You
should speak to your employer if you’re not
sure about this. Find out more at:
It’s unlikely that individual employers will run
a child care voucher scheme, but you may
be entitled to Tax Credits and free pre-school
child care. For more information visit:
It’s the responsibility of your employer to
have insurance. The types of insurance
they’re likely to have are public and
employer’s liability insurance. If you’re using
your car in relation to your employment,
you’ll need to ensure it’s insured for business
No, you would not normally get travel to work
Yes, you can be employed by more than one
person. You should tell your current employer
if you plan to do a second job, so that they
can make sure they follow any regulations,
like The Working Time Directive.
That depends on what your employer wants
to do. Sometimes employers could ask you
to find cover but it’s not your responsibility.
You can, and should, say no if you’re not able
to do this.
If you do know of someone who would
cover holidays, it remains your employer’s
responsibility to ensure that this person is
interviewed, suitable for the work and has a
Your working hours will be decided by your
employer and will be set out in your contract
of employment. This can range from a few
hours a week to a full working week. Quite
often, employers are looking for some
flexibility within an agreed number of hours,
for example, working Monday and Tuesday
one week, Thursday and Friday the next, but
this should be explained at interview. If you
also work for someone else and your hours
clash, you may be able to negotiate with a
new employer. However, it’s your employer
who ultimately decides your working week.
It wouldn’t be usual for most employment
situations to allow employees to do their
shopping at work. However, because of the
nature of this work, if you’re going shopping
with your employer, it might be ok with them
if you pick up a few bits. It’s up to them, but
never assume this is ok.
An individual employer may or may not
have ongoing support from social services
or health services. Either way, you, as a
personal assistant, should not be expected
to have direct contact with social care or
health services unless your employer has
asked you to do this on their behalf or you’re
supporting them at appointments
Each local authority has a policy that helps
people know what to do if they suspect that
an adult or a child is being mistreated. This is
usually called a safeguarding policy.
It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with
what safeguarding is about and who to
contact, by looking on your local council’s
Speak Up provide free, independent,
confidential advice. Visit the website at:
Your employer will agree with you the rate
of pay and how often you’ll be paid (for
example, monthly or weekly). However, the
employer will be made aware of minimum
wage requirements by the local authority,
health service or direct payment support
Your employer will be responsible for paying
you, however they can choose to do that
through a payroll service.
Yes, by law you must receive a payslip.
The amount of holiday pay that you’re
entitled to depends on the number of hours
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No. You will be employed directly by your
employer who will sort out your pay, tax,
national insurance and pension contributions.
Some employers use a wages/payroll
agency/bureau to sort out your pay every
The employer is the person that recruits
you to support them. All employment
responsibility lies with the individual, and not
with the local authority, health service or any
The social model is a way of understanding
disability. It says that disability is created by
barriers in society which generally falls into
■ the environment - including inaccessible
buildings and services
■ people’s attitudes - stereotyping,
discrimination and prejudice
■ organisations - inflexible policies,
practices and procedures.
Using the social model helps identify
solutions to the barriers that disabled people
experience. It encourages the removal of
these barriers within society, or the reduction
of their effects, rather than trying to fix an
individual’s impairment or health condition.
The social model is the preferred model for
disabled people, and encourages society to
be more inclusive.
Personalisation and person-centred care is
about individuals being in control of building
a system of care and support that’s designed
with their full involvement, and tailored to
meet their own unique needs
Individuals choose to employ their own
personal assistants, rather than having care
and support arranged for them, because it
gives them more control of where and when
they have support, as well as control over
deciding who will provide this support.
Most individuals who employ a personal
assistant have something called a ‘direct
payment’. They receive this direct payment
after having an assessment of their needs
by either a social services department or
the local health service. This money is for
individuals to buy their own care and support
from care organisations, specialist equipment
and/or employ their own personal assistants.
Not everyone who employs a personal
assistant will have a personal budget. People
who are able to, can fund their own care and
support needs - they may be called ‘selffunders’.
Direct payments have been in existence for
many years, but their use has increased in