Employing a Personal Assistant

A personal assistant is someone who can provide you with support to help you live independently. Personal assistants carry out a wide range of tasks, for example, they can help you to get dressed, cook, or can support you to go out and about.

If you choose to employ a Personal Assistant (PA) using your Direct Payment, there are legal requirements and responsibilities that come with this, including:

  • Writing a job description
  • Providing a written contract of employment
  • Record keeping
  • Safe recruitment practice, e.g. right to work checks and DBS (police record check)
  • Providing holiday pay and keeping a record of this
  • Ensuring employers’ liability insurance is in place
  • Using payroll and provide pensions where applicable
  • Health and Safety
  • Access to training
  • Liaising with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to make sure you have paid the appropriate tax and submitting all HMRC monthly and annual returns.

Direct Payment Support Service (PeoplePlus) 

PeoplePlus can support you with all aspects of recruitment including advertising, shortlisting and interviewing prospective personal assistants (PAs). They can also help with:

  • Necessary checks – DBS checks and references
  • Ensure relevant legalities are in place – Insurance, Terms and Conditions, Risk Assessments
  • Support to set up a Payroll – they offer a Payroll Service (but others are available)
  • Training options

Deciding how much to pay your personal assistant

You must pay them at least the National Minimum Wage. The calculation for the minimum wage is based on the full amount (gross) before any tax, National Insurance and other deductions have been taken off.

You can find out more information about the National Minimum Wage and the rates you must pay at National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates

You need to make sure that the hourly rate you choose is affordable, based on your direct payment amount, and can be maintained in the long term.

You will also need to factor in:

  • tax and National Insurance
  • sick leave
  • holiday pay
  • insurance (required by law)
  • training costs
  • contributions towards a work pension. maternity payments (if applicable).

The current Cheshire East Council personal assistant rate is £13.98 per hour. This enables you to pay your personal assistant as a minimum the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates.

Employer Liability Insurance

By law you must have employment liability insurance in place for you and your Personal Assistants (PAs) as soon as you become an employer. It safeguards employers against legal and compensation expenses from employee claims.    

The costs of insurance are included with your Direct Payment. You’ll need to arrange payment via your Direct Payment bank account.

We recommend getting a policy that includes a legal/HR helpline.

You can choose your own insurance provider. Your social worker or PeoplePlus can also advise.


We recommend that you have a payroll to help meet your employment responsibilities.  You can choose your own company or your social worker or PeoplePlus can refer you to a local company.

The costs of payroll are included in your Direct Payment, and you need to arrange regular payments to the payroll via your Direct Payment bank account.

Contract of employment

By law you must have terms and conditions of service or a contract of employment with your PA from day one.  PeoplePlus can share a template of a contract with you.

Consider with your social worker any contingency plans for when your PA is on holiday or sick.

Training and development

Disability Positive provides free, independent and personalised learning and development and training to help you get the most from your care and help you meet your responsibilities as an employer.

Disability Positive have made a short film about the training on offer.  

For further details of the training available and details of how to book, contact Disability Positive.

Telephone. 01606 331853

email: learning@disabilitypositive.org

Self-employed personal assistants (PAs)

It is your responsibility to make sure your personal assistant’s employment status is correct. All checks should be completed before you deem a personal assistant as having self-employed status. The council cannot accept liability in the event of penalties or fines being imposed by HMRC. You can find out more about determining whether or not your personal assistant’s employment status is correct by checking employment status for tax or phoning 0300 200 2326.

Getting help to employ a Personal Assistant (PA)

Direct Payment Support Service (PeoplePlus)

PeoplePlus can provide support to help you find a personal assistant and provide more information about the service offered in Cheshire East and practical tips for PA recruitment.

Contact details:

Telephone: 0330 123 2815

Email: ilscheshire@peopleplus.co.uk

Skills for Care

Further information about employing personal assistants can be found on the Skills for Care website.

Further advice is available at the Citizens Advice Bureau at Citizens Advice Services in Cheshire East (citizensadvicece.org.uk). Or your solicitor for independent advice.

Page last reviewed: 23 April 2024

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