Hiring the best self-employed at-home carers
You want to hire your own self-employed carers for many good reasons.
You want to enjoy the benefits of having the best service.
Typically, you are fed up with the traditional domiciliary care company’s approach, or inability to deliver what you want.
You want control to determine who visits, when, what they do – undertaking additional chores and extra help around the home.
You want better value for money.
If you are needing help on a daily basis you’re probably going to need at least two, if not, three people to cover routine visits.
Some of the potential pitfalls that our branch managers can help you avoid:
You can’t just call someone self-employed, because it’s convenient to do so!
You could, as recent case law has highlighted, find yourself having engaged self-employed people who are later not deemed to be in law, but regarded as “workers”.
The “gig” economy has created a new third category of self-employed “worker”.
Many of the self-employed carers provided by agencies could still fall into this new category of self-employed worker, meaning, that self-employed “workers” are entitled to the same statutory employment and other rights that are enjoyed by employed individuals.
For example, the person paying for the service being liable for pension contributions, holiday pay, sick pay, etc.
Then of course, in these circumstances, HMRC would be looking for employer’s national insurance contributions and any tax owed from employment.
Whilst this is still a massive grey area, there are some prudent measures that can be taken to protect yourself and ensure that you only engage genuinely self-employed people.
With the lawyers getting their teeth into some juicy and eye-wateringly expensive cases that are still pending, and recent case law – we have identified some of the potential pitfalls and genuine ways of mitigating these risks.
The risks are the same whether you engage someone on an occasional basis for the odd hour or for longer periods.
How to ensure the people you engage are genuinely self-employed
Key questions to ask:
Do self-employed providers –
- determine their own hourly charge out rates?
- determine their availability?
- work for more than one customer?
- have their own insurance?
- supply their own equipment and or consumables?
- not supervised or managed by the agency?
- registered with HMRC as self-employed?
If the answer to any of the above questions is NO – then we would suggest that there are increased risks and that those may not be deemed by HMRC or in an employment tribunal as genuinely self-employed.
Believe it or not, we still come across agencies that specify hourly rates, deployment and influence aspects on a day-to-day basis.
Some of the highest risks could be associated with agencies that offer 24×7 live-in care with advertised rates that would fall well below the minimum wage.
Recently, a local rest home was fined a six-figure sum for not paying the minimum wage to an employee, for “waking nights” – sleeping in whilst being on call.
There’s also the modern slavery act and the person’s right to work in the UK to consider.
The Home Office Immigration Department and HMRC are naturally concerned to bring those to book who engage in bad practices, who take advantage at the expense of others.
What to look for when seeking genuinely self-employed care professionals
Friends Helping at Home carers and support workers registered with us –
- always set their own rates (and individually quote every customer the rates that they will charge).
- advise customers of their availability
- work for more than one customer
- have their own insurance policies
- provide their own equipment and consumables
- are not supervised or managed in any way by us (if they’re not up to the mark, you don’t book them, and we don’t retain them on our register)
- provide evidence from HMRC of self-employment
So you can confidently say – YES to Friends Helping at Home!
We can source all your carer and support needs, with one point of contact, having mitigated the associated risks of engaging the help you need at home.
Before we register and have carers and support staff available to introduce to customers, we undertake an extensive recruitment process.
We ensure that references are taken up, employment history checked as well as ensuring aptitude, personality and many other undefinable factors that go into our recruitment process.
We can also recommend a specialist, low-cost insurance policy that covers all of the associated risks of engaging self-employed in your home.
This covers anyone engaging a personal assistant, “staff”, gardeners, cooks, carers, drivers – anything related to you and your care or help around the home.
We receive zero commission or benefit from this, other than knowing that our customers are totally covered.
Safe recruitment that puts you in control!