Factsheet number: 1.0

Last Updated: 27 October 2021

If Social Services or NHS have assessed you as eligible to receive a Direct Payment, or you are a self-funder with eligible needs, you may choose to employ a Personal Assistant (PA) to help or support you to meet your assessed outcomes.


This factsheet introduces what you will be required to do to employ a PA using your Direct Payments. Independent Lives will take you through these processes and provide you with the knowledge and paperwork to become a good employer.

Finding a PA

Before you recruit a Personal Assistant, you need to know what you can afford to pay someone from your Direct Payment. We work with you on calculating a budget to cover PA wages and on costs, like holiday pay.

You must pay someone at least the national minimum wage per hour. Cash in hand is not permitted unless agreed by your local authority or NHS funder

You will then need to think about what you want them to do - this will become a job description.

Avoid confusion by not offering a job verbally to anyone before you’ve received advice on becoming a Direct Payment employer. We will support you to recruit, if you haven’t already and do the necessary checks on a PA, including DBS checks and references.

Ongoing responsibilities

  • Take out insurance - As an employer, it’s a legal requirement that you have Employers’ Liability insurance. The cost of this policy will be covered by your Direct Payments
  • Check your PA has the right to work in the UK
  • Employment Contracts – You have a legal responsibility to issue your PA a contract of employment on or before the day they start work
  • Complete a risk assessment with all PAs, where applicable. Develop your own ‘emergency plan’ to make sure that you have several options if your regular PAs are unavailable
  • Set up a workplace pension, if required
  • Ensure your PAs salary includes deductions, like tax and National Insurance. Speak to your payroll provider about any other payments or deductions that may be required
  • Pay all employed PAs 5.6 weeks annual leave (Pro Rata)
  • Maintain records of where your Direct Payment is being spent. Including keeping PA timesheets
  • Ensure all checks are carried out for self-employed PAs
  • Provide any training to your PAs that is required for them to do their job
  • You do not end any employment relationship without speaking to your Employers Liability Insurance or Independent Lives
  • Speak to Independent Lives if you require advice on anything you're not sure about.

Independent Lives will work closely with you to get your Direct Payment and employment of PAs up and running, in the meantime if you would like to speak to us, please call us on 01903 219482 or visit www.independentlives.org