Hiring a care worker – Employer Challenges and What to do about them

Hiring a care worker – Employer Challenges and What to do about them


Oct, 2023 - 4mins

It may seem like a piece of cake but in reality, being an employer has many nuances. If you’re hiring a caregiver privately, you need to take responsibility for your employee. Typically, people who receive Direct Payment or self-fund their care hire care workers independently. 

Let’s look at what it’s like to be an employer to a care worker.

Benefits and challenges of being an employer of a Carer

Hiring a private care worker is an individual’s choice as well as their right. You may want to hire a care worker yourself because you already have a compatible and like-minded person in mind. Hiring care workers can give you better control over your care arrangements. You can choose a person with your preferred experience, background, language, training, etc. 

However, some people may find it challenging to be an employer. Here’s why: 

  • You will have to take legal responsibility for your employees. 
  • You will be responsible for arranging a substitute care worker if your carer is unavailable.
  • You will have to tackle disciplinary issues with your care worker yourself. 
  • Private carers are not associated with an agency, so their training may not be up-to-date.

How to overcome the legal challenges

Once you’ve decided to hire a private care worker, you need to check your employment status to know whether you’re legally classed as an employer or not. If yes, you’ll have to register as an employer with HMRC.  

  • Operate PAYE Or Deduction for Income Tax: If your employee earns less than £120 per week, an employer is eligible to operate PAYE. Otherwise, you need to deduct income tax from their pay. 
  • Deduction of National Insurance: You will have to deduct the national insurance and make an employer contribution according to the rates and categories here.
  • Deduction for Liability Insurance: You should set up liability insurance and public liability insurance to cover personal damage or damage to third-party due to negligence.
  • Provide Pension scheme: If you pay your carer more than £120 per week and they’re aged between 22 and state pension age, you need to contribute a minimum amount for your employee’s pension. 
  • Minimum wages: You must pay your employee at least the minimum wages set by the government. You can find the current minimum wage rates here
  • Paid time off: You can’t force the carer workers to work more than 48 hours a week, and most are entitled to 5.6 weeks of annual paid holiday. If they’re too sick to work, you will be obliged to pay £99.35 a week or more as SSP (Statutory Sick Pay).

Protection from discrimination and unfair dismissal: When hiring, you cannot discriminate based on race, nationality, color, gender, etc. Similarly, it cannot be a basis for dismissal. You’re required to issue a dismissal notice with a valid reason at least a week before termination.

Background and safety checks

Here are some safety checks that you should perform before hiring any new person as your care worker. 

  • You should perform proper screening for experience and training.
  • Hold in-person or video interviews and try to meet the person at least once before hiring.  
  • Gauge their background and criminal history through DBS

Check the individual’s right to work in the UK and screen their original documents.

References and contracts

It’s best to have a written contract with all the terms and conditions stated clearly to maintain a professional relationship. You should get legal advice when creating a contract for the first time. You should also ask the care worker you hire for references from at least two previous employees. 

Want to hire a Carer but don’t want to be an Employer?

If you want all the benefits of hiring a private care worker without being an employer, you can work with agencies like Pair my Care. You can choose a compatible care worker from our database and let us handle the legal formalities, paperwork, and all! Just tell us what kind of care you need and find your perfect match today.

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