Employment Guidance for PAs

Understanding your employment status is hugely important for PAs. Read on for a breakdown of different forms of employment and other helpful information.

Registering as a Self-Employed PA

If you’re a self-employed PA, you’ll need to register as a sole trader with HMRC.

Once you do, you’ll be responsible for your tax and National Insurance payments, and you’ll also have to complete a tax return on time every year. If you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, there are lots of accountants who can help you for a fixed fee. Just search for “tax accountants near me” into Google to find some in your area.

The Benefits of Being a Self-Employed PA

The major benefit of being self-employed is flexibility. You can choose the hours you provide to your client and the kind of PA care you provide, which means you can work when and how you want.

You can create a document explaining the above if you like, tailored around the needs of the people you provide care to, but there’s no official contract involved if you’re self-employed.

Your Obligations as a Self-Employed PA

As well as filing and paying tax and National Insurance contributions, you’ll have to create invoices that you regularly send to your clients. Invoices are usually sent monthly and should include:

  • Hours worked.
  • Duties carried out.
  • Hourly rate.
  • Expenses.
  • Total amount due.

You should keep a record of your invoices as well as any receipts for expenses you incur, such as petrol or parking fees paid to administer care. 

It is important to note that some Employers (SDS recipients) use a payroll service/Brokers e.g. Home | Highland Brokers Ltd to manage their payroll admin, i.e. processing PA’s invoices, salary slips/payments. Therefore, it’s worth checking whose details are on your pay slips, as it may be the Brokers/Company’s name and not the name of your actual Employer/ supported person.

More info on Payroll services/Brokers Payroll Services in Scotland – The SDS HandbookThe SDS Handbook

Useful Resources for Self-Employed PAs

Employed Status for PAs

Lots of PAs are classed as employed in the eyes of HMRC, but what does this mean and how does this affect you?

What You Need to Know

If you’re hired and receive a contract of employment, you are employed rather than self-employed. It’s important to read your contract carefully or have someone else read it for you. There may be details regarding taking time off that may not suit you.

If your employer wants to change your contract, you should discuss and agree with everything they propose before signing it.

As an employed PA, you should also receive a job description detailing your role requirements and what your employer expects of you. You’ll be paid through PAYE (Pay As You Earn) and your National Insurance payments will be made by your employer. In addition to a job description, you should receive any equipment you need to work.

A lot of clients use Self-Directed support to fund their care, which means that they become an employer and recruit PAs. So, even if you aren’t hired by a company, you may well be classed as employed.

Always clarify your employment status with your employer before taking on any work.

Benefits of Being an Employed PA

Stability is the core benefit of being contractually employed as you know how many hours you’ll work in advance. This is different to being self-employed where you set your own hours.

Another benefit for employed PAs is the simplicity of taxation. You won’t have to worry about filing returns or missing tax/National Insurance deadlines if you’re employed because your employer handles this for you.

Useful Resources for Employed PAs

PAs as Casual Workers

If you aren’t employed or self-employed, you’ll likely be a casual worker. Let’s explore what you need to know about this form of employment.

What Being a Casual Worker Means for You

Sometimes, it works for you and your employer if you’re a casual worker rather than fully employed. For example, this might be preferred if the client wants to employ multiple PAs to cover absences and holidays. They may also need more PAs available to contact if they have unscheduled emergencies.

Could You Be Considered a Casual Worker?

If you tick any of these boxes, you may be a casual worker in the eyes of the law:

  • You only support someone when they need it or temporarily.
  • You only worked with someone once or for a short, set period.
  • Your role is unpredictable and irregular.
  • If there’s no contract offered and no obligation for the employer to offer you work.

Even though you won’t receive a contract, casual workers are entitled to a written statement that details what their work entails. You may also have the right to receive holiday pay, the NMW and to be enrolled into a pension scheme.

If you aren’t sure what your employment status is, feel free to drop us an email and we can try and clarify your situation. You should also ask your employer if you’re self-employed, employed, or a casual worker, before you start any work for them.

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