Hiring A Self-Employed Carer: What You Need to Know

A self-employed carer can be an excellent choice if you or a loved one is struggling to cope at home and needs additional assistance and support for their safety and independence. However, choosing this option is not without its challenges, so it’s best to ensure you are fully informed beforehand. 

Employing a carer for help around the home is a popular choice to enable those in need of care to continue living in surroundings they are familiar with and comfortable in. The decision to go into an assisted living community can be difficult, and for many, a self-employed carer is a more favourable option. 

Self-employed carers can provide support for:

  • Daily living duties such as shopping, cleaning, preparing meals etc
  • Help to make medical appointments
  • Assistance taking medicine
  • Personal care support such as washing, using the toilet etc
  • Providing transport to and from appointments

Benefits of hiring a self-employed carer:

Some of the major benefits of hiring a self-employed carer include:

  • You can source care independently to ensure you find a carer who suits your needs exactly
  • You also have the option to source help from a care agency to handle the employment side of things such as vetting candidates thoroughly
  • You will always have the same carer for yourself or your loved one

One of the biggest potential downsides of a self-employed carer is that you will need to be responsible for the other costs that come along with hiring an employee. That includes National Insurance, tax, employer’s insurance, holiday and sick pay, as well as other responsibilities such as drawing up a contract and conducting background checks.

If these responsibilities are something you would rather avoid, using an agency to help you arrange care may be a better alternative.

Things to consider

Type of care

When hiring a self-employed carer, considering the type of care you or your loved one needs is essential. You will want to make sure that whoever you have hired is capable of providing the level of care and support required. For example, do they have training on specific healthcare tasks you may need help with – and are those healthcare tasks covered by their insurance?

Conducting interviews is an important step in this process that you shouldn’t rush, and ensuring each candidate you consider has an up-to-date DBS check is a must to ensure they are authorised to be working as a carer.

Most importantly, trust your gut. You and the person you are arranging care for need to agree that the candidate you are considering is a good fit and can be trusted to provide respectful, safe care.

Legal requirements

If you employ a carer either via direct payments or out of your own pocket, you are legally considered to be an employer. That means you are responsible for things such as holiday and sick pay for your employee (carer), paying their wages, tax, as well as making sure you’ve got the correct insurance in place.

A rule of thumb is that employers may not be asked to work more than 48 hours a week unless they’ve signed an agreement to work more hours. Employees are due 28 days paid leave for every year worked. Employees are also entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.

In the unfortunate event of a dismissal, employers are due one week’s minimum period of notice, which increases to one week for each year of service worked (but no more than 12 weeks). Lastly, but of paramount importance, don’t forget to take out liability insurance to protect both you and your employer in the case of unforeseen events.