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Employing a carer directly: legal, tax and admin stuff

(6 Posts)
Needmoresleep Mon 07-Nov-16 10:51:38

We are lucky to have found my mum a great carer. Inevitably her hours have increased, and will continue to increase. Recently my mum's sheltered housing asked that someone accompany my mum to lunch which effectively doubled the carer's hours, and caused my accountant to recommended that I set my mum up as an employer and employ the carer under PAYE. I've done this, but she now also needs a work contract, and, next year, a pension. And all sorts of things are coming up like statutory sick pay, redundancy etc. And then issues like health and safety, time sheets, employer liability insurance, carer using her own car to take my mum out and so on.

Its fine on one level as I don't begrudge the carer proper working conditions. And the carer and the consistency she brings, is so much better than the experience I had using care agencies. My mother is extremely well looked after. I also like the idea that should something happen to my mum, the carer would get a redundancy payment, which inter alia gets round the fact it is too late to add bequests to the Will, and my mother lacks the capacity to make gifts.

However I feel I am in some sort of rabbit warren of bureaucracy. The lawyer is not even sure whether my mum is able to be an employer. But recommends strongly that I don't take on such a large personal liability, plus I am keen to keep all Attorney transactions separate from our family finances.

I cannot be inventing a wheel here? Is anyone aware of a step by step guide. I guess I could use a nanny template, except that the caring responsibilities will grow and it is quite possible at some point I will be employing both night and day carers. (Cheaper and nicer than a care home and, I have just discovered and not an influencing decision, keeping DM in her own home will, from next year, have distinct IHT advantages.) Or if anyone else is headed down the same track, I am happy to share my learning.

CMOTDibbler Wed 09-Nov-16 16:06:34

Would one of the groups like NannyTax work? I think they will deal with all the sickpay, HMRC, insurance and I took a quick look and they can do all the pension stuff too

Needmoresleep Thu 10-Nov-16 12:05:44

Thanks. I spoke to them, though the PAYE and stuff are sorted via my accountant. Unfortunately though they can provide a generic work contract and access to a legal advice helpline, the contract won't cover the oddities of caring for an adult (like using a POA) not a child.

I have found Fish Insurance who are disability insurance experts‎, who provide quite flexible Employer Liability Insurance, and would also cover things like mobility scooters. So that is another box ticked.

The decision now is whether to have the good but generalist employment lawyer draw up a contract or whether I should be hunting for a specialist, perhaps via the insurers legal help line, who may have something suitable ready to print off. I suspect the latter.

I think the learning from this is that the Inland Revenue are clamping down on individuals claiming to be self employed, so if a carer is doing more than a couple of hours a day it is worth being clear about what both you and they think their status is. But it is quite hard to define who is self-employed as at the end of the day an employment tribunal would decide. Employment carries with it a whole bunch of responsibilities and liabilities (including redundancy payments and statutory sick pay), and if a tribunal might rule that someone was employed, you might as well plan for it from the start. Plus, the carer has been a life saver for me and should be treated properly.

I recently visited a Sunrise home, as I have started to think about next steps. Eye-wateringly expensive, despite them being pretty evasive about fees for end of life care. Enough to make any costs of employing someone/several people seem insignificant in comparison.

whataboutbob Sat 12-Nov-16 18:08:38

NMS- Just checking in to say hello, unfortunately i know nothing about employing people, I hope this works out. I would be tempted to say let an agency have all the headache and provide a tight rota of 2-3 carers for your mum, but i see you have found someone you like.
I hope you are well and enjoying life, elderly parent duties notwithstanding. Things are ticking over with dad in care home, but certainly he is declining. Felt very pleased with myself when I whizzed round the tax returns online form last week- practice certainly makes perfect!.
My main headache to be truthful is my brother and his (self chosen) squalid living conditions in Dad's home, I have to protect myself from his aggression when I suggest improvements and learn not to try and step in all the time.
Sorry this does not answer your question in any way, just wanted to say hello to a fellow old timer.

Needmoresleep Sun 13-Nov-16 09:19:17

Bob, I survived a couple of years with an agency. But the key problem was responsibility. No one would take responsibility for anything. That was left to me. Plus there was an ever revolving door, and my mother rarely had the same carer on consecutive days, as well as some theft that was inadequately addressed. I initially dealt with it by using a national agency who had several other clients in the area, and who had a clear approach to handling money etc.

But a couple of problems remained. First my mother can be difficult, hardly a first in the world of elderly care, but also carers are under pressure. I was paying for 30 minute daily calls, and more once a week to sort out a shower and laundry but rarely got more than five minutes. A carer would dash in give my mother her pills, give her time to "refuse" to wash, and then leave. I belatedly discovered I could check for laundry costs on her housing bill, only to realise sheets had not been changed for four months. It got to the point where I was having to drive down every week, simply to get my mother into the shower.

But my mother was the lucky one. The position for those living in inappropriate accommodation, without family and relying on 15 minute calls provided by Social Services must be awful. I felt unable to begrudge my mum being cheated on time, if the time went to someone in greater need. The career told me about a time she found a lady lying on the floor at midday having been there for hours. For whatever reason the morning call had not happened, so the lady had attempted to get out of bed on her own and fallen. The carer called an ambulance, but was later reprimanded because she stayed with the distressed lady till the ambulance arrived rather than leave her alone to carry on with her schedule.

Things are better now, and my mother is much happier. She has a carer she gets on with, and I have someone who will take my mum out, buy her clothes, take her on to the hospital when the GP asks for further tests and wait with her, sort out flat repairs and all the things it is hard to do from 150 miles away. The challenge though is that of having to add being a mini personnel department to my skill/knowledge set.

Similarly it sounds as if longer term you really need to get your brother somewhere where someone else is first in line to take responsibility. Whilst he is in a house you will jointly own, you will be expected to step up on the repair and maintenance side, and so by extension, be involved in trying to resolve behaviour issues that lead to property issues. Maybe that is what he is worried about, and hence the aggression. After effectively losing his dad, he might have to move on somewhere which allows you to retreat from his life.

Its the never-endingness that is wearing me down. Things are so much better than they were, but there are always things to do, and this is likely to go on for another decade. And inevitably the lack of appreciation. You get aggression. My mother's main response when she opens the door to me is "Oh its you" in a dismissive way.

Still she likes her carer and DB communicates with the carer (I think it suits him to believe that the carer does everything, so he need not feel guilty about the burden he has dumped on me.) And for the first time DB visited my mother on a bad day (hitherto she has been on top form for his visits, determined not to show him how disabled she is) and he was apparently quite shocked. Useful because she is declining and the next step will be a dementia unit, something he is likely to find shocking.

whataboutbob Sun 13-Nov-16 16:51:12

I take your point re my bro, but trying to get him to move out would be akin to getting a bear out of his hidey hole. I'd love it if he were somewhere else where he got regular living support, but right now he's just not bad enough for me to have the leverage.
I fully appreciate how wearing this all is, it's the long- termness of it too, the combination of the illness going on for years AND the person not being able to do stuff for themselves AND them being resentful of one's efforts.
The Glenda Jackson Lear play was being reviewed yesterday on Radio 4 and one of the panelists said she understood the monstrous dimension of Lear's behaviour because her father has dementia. I had a kind of shudder of recognition as I recalled some of the awful stuff Dad has done.
Good to hear your bro is engaging more. One day he might just admit how necessary everything you've done has been.

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