Being hired by someone you know to care for them – how to get started
If you have been looking after a friend, neighbour or relative on a causal basis, there may come a time when you both decide to make it a more formal position. This could be because the cared-for person requires more care than you can currently provide without payment, or because they want to hire a paid carer, but would rather have someone that they know and are comfortable with in the position.
Even though you may know each other well, it is worth going through the formalities and setting up an employer-employee relationship. This saves any disputes or problems further down the line, and clearly outlines the expectations that both of you have of each other during the time that you are performing care and support duties.
1. Have a chat
Before starting, sit down together and talk through everything. Start with what kind of care and support is needed and how many hours a day or week is required. If this is going to be your sole job, then you will need to think about other commitments that you need to work around, such as family.
2. Understand the responsibilities
If the person that you are caring for is going to become your employer, then they need to be aware of the responsibilities that they have towards you as an employee, which includes things like the minimum wage, holiday and sickness pay, and a payslip.
3. Talk about money
Money can be a difficult subject between people who know each other, but it is important to ensure that the arrangement works for both of you. Find out how the cared-for person is planning on paying for you to care for them. It may be that they have a personal budget from their local authority, which they are going to use to hire you, or they could be paying you themselves. Talk about the money that is available for them to spend. You also need to think about your own wage; how much do you need to earn?
4. Arranging payments
Once an amount has been agreed, then you need to ensure that you are paid it on time on a weekly or monthly basis (or other agreed period). Your new employer needs to be registered with HMRC as an employer, and needs to issue you with a payslip, which has any relevant deductions (National Insurance, tax). If this sounds like too much admin, then you can always suggest using a payroll service instead, which does all of these things on an employer’s behalf.
5. Draw up a contract
It is important to have a contract in place, stating all the things that you have agreed upon. This should include your hourly rate, the times and days you are expected to work, an overview of your duties and anything else that you think is important to have written down.
6. Plan for when you’re away
As an employee, you are entitled to things like holiday and sickness pay, and other statutory rights like maternity pay. When you are not available then your new employer should have a plan in action to help them cope. This could be arranging a friend or family member to take over for a short while, or they could use an agency as a one-off just to cover your absence. Keep numbers somewhere handy, so that it is easy to arrange if you are ill and can only give short notice.
7. Care plans and support planning
As you become an employee, you may take a larger role in the support planning of the person that you are caring for. They may already have had an assessment by their local authority who, even if they are not proving any funding, should help with a support plan. As a paid carer, you would be part of that support plan. If there has been no outside involvement, then you may want to look at familiarising yourself with the sorts of things you need to consider. Our free online Care Needs Helper is a good place to start.
When you are working for someone that you know, it is important to have boundaries between your personal relationship and your new professional one. Grievances regarding the arrangement by either party should be discussed in a more formal environment and records should be kept. Hopefully, by planning all of the other points that we have outlined here, no problems should arise.