Business requirements for personal assistants

The law says that it is not possible to choose whether an arrangement is employment or self-employment.  The law says that it is the nature of the arrangement between the worker and the employer which determines whether the work is being done on an employed or self-employed basis.

It is important to use the correct employment status as this can have tax and legal implications.

The rules are the same whether the client pays the personal assistant privately or uses direct payments provided by the council.

For further information on how to determine employment use the links below:

Is your PA employed or self-employed | Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

Taking on a new employee | Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (

Whether you are employed or self-employed, it is advisable to agree a formal contract with the client at the start. This reassures the client and is an essential document if there is a dispute.

It should include:

  • a statement of the services required
  • how many hours per week you will support the client
  • the hourly rate and any other charges, such as mileage
  • how payment will be made

Both the client and the personal assistant should keep a copy of the contract for their records.

For further information about contracts, visit: Before your PA starts | Skills for Care

A contingency plan states what will happen if a personal assistant is unable to carry out the role for any reason. This includes all planned and unplanned situations including holidays, sickness, emergencies, transport problems, bad weather, and any other leave.

It is important to agree contingency plans before your sign a contract with the client.

If you are concerned that contingency plans are not adequate, please contact the client’s Adult Social Care worker (if they have one) for advice. 

Help to set up a contingency plan

Clients of Adult Social Care who receive direct payments will receive support to set up a care contingency plan. The Direct payments factsheet gives advice on how to do this.

Self-employed personal assistants must ensure that contingency plans are in place.

What happens if nobody can cover?

If contingency plans fail and the client will be left without essential support, such as personal care / medication administration, the personal assistant should phone Health and Social Care Connect on 0345 60 80 191. However, this should be considered as a last resort.