Planning for your carer to take holiday
If you employ your own carer or personal assistant, then you will have certain employer responsibilities that you need to meet. This includes things like making sure they have a contract of employment, that they are paid on time and issued payslips, and that they receive statutory sick pay and holiday allowance.
There are clear guidelines on how much holiday you must allow your paid carer to take, but you can set out your own rules regarding holiday as well, which should be within the employment contract. It is worth considering how you will cope with holiday well in advance. By having your rules in the employee contract, that helps you take a measure of control over the situation.
You should clearly define when the holiday year starts and finishes, and what their holiday entitlement is. You should clarify how much notice they need to give before taking a holiday and what your approval process is – for example, you may ask that they give at least two weeks’ notice in writing and you will issue a written approval in response. You should also confirm whether they can carry over any remaining holiday at the end of the year or not.
Once you have your rules and process in place, you will need to ensure that you keep a clear record of any holiday taken, so you can track how much the employee has left to take.
There is more detail on employee holidays for employers here.
The bigger problem, however, is having a plan for how you are personally going to cope in the absence of your employee. If you rely on your carer for personal care, getting up in the mornings, cooking, shopping or any other manner of essential tasks, then you need to consider what you will do when your carer is unavailable.
There are a few options. For example, is there a family member or friend that is able to help out on a short-term basis? This is a good solution where feasible, as it won’t cost you any extra, as you are already covering holiday pay, and you will know the person who will be caring for you.
Another option is to find a carer who you can sub-contract the work to temporarily, for example a self-employed paid carer who you could book in for a short period of time and just pay for the hours that you need. You can also contact a local homecare agency and see if they offer short-term cover for carers on a weekly or hourly basis. This does mean that you will not know the person who is going to be caring for you, but it is a temporary solution.
By having your plan in place from the very beginning of employment, preferably with a Plan A and a Plan B, you won’t have cause to worry every time your carer takes holiday.
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