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Employing a carer

BizzyLizzy

Registered User
Apr 13, 2015
10
Hitchin, Hertfordshire
We employ a carer for a couple of hours a day - 6 days a week. She is registered as a sole trader and doesn't work more than 16 hours per week. She doesn't earn enough to pay any tax (we are the only family she works for). It gives her a bit of extra money each week. It works out really well as she treats our mum and dad like they are her own. We had to give up on agency workers via Social Services - it was too stressful.
 

stanleypj

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
10,710
North West
Something's very wrong if people, often with exhausting caring responsibilities, have to go on courses in order to master the required bureaucracy so that they can have a little break.
 

tre

Registered User
Sep 23, 2008
1,353
Herts
Before my husband had dementia he was a sole trader. I am sure he told me that you could not be a Sole Trader if you only worked for one client as you fell foul of a tax regulation IR35.
This sort of tricky stuff is exactly why I did not go down the direct payments route. Obviously someone like a window cleaner or handyperson would have more than one client.
Tre
 

stanleypj

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
10,710
North West
I have no doubt this is true but presumably any fault would lie with the ineligible sole trader rather than the customer paying them.
 

Leswi

Registered User
Jul 13, 2014
121
Bedfordshire
sole trader for tax purposes is somebody who is self employed and is responsible for just their own business as opposed to being in a partnership with others. Tradespeople would fall into one category or another. If you were to pay a carer who is self employed the tax and NI is entirely their responsibility and they can work for as many people as they choose.
 

Loopiloo

Registered User
May 10, 2010
6,118
Scotland
How does one find a carer privately? Do non-agency carers advertise themselves, or those looking for one advertise for such a carer? If so where do they advertise?

Loo
 

stanleypj

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
10,710
North West
Good question Loo. Our Council had a brokerage system and could put you in touch with carers. Don't know if this has survived the cuts.

Word of mouth at dementia events maybe?
 

Quilty

Registered User
Aug 28, 2014
1,051
GLASGOW
My experience was with an agency as they cope with holidays and sickness instead of me. It worked well for us and i got a list of agencies from social work. I went for a local company based on how accomodating they were with my requests.
 

Tara62

Registered User
How does one find a carer privately? Do non-agency carers advertise themselves, or those looking for one advertise for such a carer? If so where do they advertise?
Yes, sometimes non-agency carers do advertise. One of my father's has in the past put ads in the local newspaper and ads up in shop windows. Another carer I know advertises by putting business cards through people's letter-boxes.

I found my two private carers by putting up notices in shop windows, and in charity shops, the library and the art gallery. I also asked all the local vicars and church leaders if they knew anyone. Finding the right two people was quite a long process - it took me an entire month. I had about forty replies in that time. The two ladies I chose in the end both had a lot of experience of being agency carers, and one of them had also done two years' nursing training. One thing that I didn't realise at the time I was looking for carers is the importance of their being owner-drivers - that has turned out to be absolutely essential. I also think that it's vital to have at least two, because there are always going to be times when one is not available.

I decided to find private carers for my father because I have had experience of agency carers, and it really didn't work very well at all, for all sorts of reasons.
 

sistermillicent

Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
2,949
Try church parish magazines local to you, I have seen them advertising in ours and my dad's. Or you could try the website Streetlife, I have recently discovered this site and have had a very good gardener and a lovely electrician. You type in your post code and you get to your local streetlife group where residents can ask for local recommendations for anything. I have seen local private carers mentioned on there too.
 

Pickles53

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
2,474
Radcliffe on Trent
I have no doubt this is true but presumably any fault would lie with the ineligible sole trader rather than the customer paying them.
I wonder...

If it turned out at a later date that the person would be classed as an employee by HMRC, could they they then require the 'employer' to make backdated employer NI contributions? That could affect someone whose income is below the income tax threshold.

I don't know, but I would want to find out before starting this type of arrangement.
 

tre

Registered User
Sep 23, 2008
1,353
Herts
The first thing they covered on the course I went on was the recruitment. They suggested advertising locally for candidates. They suggested sample questions for interviewing:
1. What experience do you have of this type of work?
2. I like to have things done my way, do you have any problems taking instructions?
3. What interests you about this job?
4. What qualities do you think are needed to make a good carer/PA?
5.Are there any specific times or days you would be unable to work?
6. My carer/PA must respect my privacy and trear all aspects of my life as confidential. What does this mean to you in practical terms?
7. Are there any duties you would feel uncomfortable performing?
8. Would you be able to provide cover in the event of an emergency e.g other carer is sick or work days need to be changed due to unforeseen circumstances?
9. Do you have any questions you would like to ask me?

These questions are supposed to be scored on a 1 to 5 basis.

Once you have chosen someone they strongly advise a CRB check. They also recommend a clear written description of job and what is involved.

They also gave a sample application form which asked things like whether the candidate needed a work permit to work in UK, whether they smoked, whether they drive, whether they could work evenings or weekends, whether they have any allergies and ( if you have pets) whether they are OK working in an environment where there may be animals, what relevant skills and experience they have etc etc.

Tre
 

Mibs

Registered User
May 26, 2014
73
Derbyshire
Thanks for your various responses which I think highlights the problem - which is (1) becoming an employer with all the legal and financial responsibilities that brings and (2) taking responsibility for spending a government grant on care. I'm not including self employed people in this, they do, as some have quite rightly pointed out, pay their own NI, Tax, liability insurance etc.
My concern is what I suspect to be the beginning of a shift of responsibilty of providing care, onto the patient and carer in the form of 'choice' and cash. I think this will be a minefield for the unsuspecting at a time in their lives when they have enough to deal with.
Two organisations have already started to flag up warning signs - Leonard Cheshire as mentioned by Tre, and ACAS.
Becoming an employer is not for me, I'll continue to hire self employed people and leave the worrying to them.
Thanks again for your thoughts and ideas.
 

Loopiloo

Registered User
May 10, 2010
6,118
Scotland
... Or you could try the website Streetlife, I have recently discovered this site and have had a very good gardener and a lovely electrician. You type in your post code and you get to your local streetlife group where residents can ask for local recommendations for anything. I have seen local private carers mentioned on there too.
Sistermillicent, thank you for the website Streetlife. I had a look, half expecting it not to cover Scotland but it does, and includes my area!

I just browsed for a while this first visit and although saw nothing about carers, I saw local enquiries about home helps. Two recommended but agencies. Also a non-professional gardener.

In particular I presently may need a gardener as the man who has done mine two years has not turned up and I fear a let-down. A sort of jack-of-all-trades. Suddenly the garden is beginning to ‘sprout’ and I don't want it getting out of hand - as it did when my husband could no longer do it, nor could I other than small jobs. Now I cannot even do that little.

The gardener mentioned above, in Streetlife, has just retired and said he is into his own garden, now doing a neighbour’s, interested in doing a few gardens, so he sounds more what I would prefer.

Over recent years getting a ‘gardener’ in this area has been a nightmare. I have had three, again sort of jack-of-all trades rather than with any genuine gardening interest. The first two just disappeared, probably off to pastures new for more money. Now I fear the last one likewise...

Having said that he may well turn up this week! :rolleyes: I've put off phoning him, hoping he would appear. But he previously started mid-March. He was beginning to build up several contracts, so.... :(

Also I have been pestered by two gangs of ‘cowboys' each Spring. One very persistent. Before the above mentioned three persons, in sheer desperation I did one year get one lot to do a one-off job although knew they were over charging. The next year likewise with the other gang. Neither did the jobs properly and took it upon themselves to do other things not requested.

Sorry I am digressing from the topic of this thread but I did appreciate your recommendation. Thanks.

Yet again TP helps in so many ways! Appreciated.

Loo x