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Employing a cleaner

(7 Posts)
Flyingprettycretonnecurtains Mon 30-Oct-17 16:58:09

Hi. My elderly mother has a cleaner come once every two weeks for a couple of hours. She was found via an ad in a shop window, ie, she isn't with an agency. Cleaner is ok but not brilliant and mother has to do a lot of supervision. She's also taken advantage a couple of times but DM has pulled her up on this. My sister has suggested trying an agency which unfortunately hasn't worked out. Sister has now got very agitated to DM that she has no insurance for this woman and is worried that if cleaner has an accident then she could sue.

There isn't any written contract between them. Mother doesn't want to talk about insurance to cleaner 'in case it puts ideas into her head' and actually, without being mean to cleaner, given what I know about her I kind of get where she is coming from. I would hate for some 'accident' to happen because she thinks my mother is good for a few grand compensation.

My view is that this woman accepts cash, clearly isn't declaring it and to all intents and purposes is self employed but we don't have anything specific to say this. What is the actual legal situation here and any advice to calm down sister and mother would be welcome.

PoppyPopcorn Mon 30-Oct-17 17:05:17

You're mum's not "employing" a cleaner though, she's using a self-employed person's services. Under those circumstances it's not up to your mum to have the insurance, it's up to the cleaner I'd have thought.

Just because she's being paid in cash doesn't mean she's on the fiddle. I pay my cleaner cash and she pays her tax like the rest of us. I don't have a written contract with her either, it's all verbal and we both know that I could stop using her services at any time. There's nothing unusual about that sort of set-up.

Flyingprettycretonnecurtains Mon 30-Oct-17 18:13:40

Thank you Poppy. I don't think the cleaner is on the fiddle and probs doesn't earn enough to pay any tax anyway. Your interpretation is mine and my mother's but stressy sister is getting her knickers in a twist and if tou liok on the Gov website it does seem to imply that unless someone is self employed then proper contracts, etc are the employers responsibility. I think she's self employed but how is this proved?

Santawontbelong Mon 30-Oct-17 18:17:37

Tbh either you trust the woman. Or you don't.
If you don't then stop using her services.

threesocksmeghan Mon 30-Oct-17 18:26:23

Tbh she should have her own insurance. But you have no proof she isn't declaring income and may simply be keeping costs down. How much is your DM paying her?

Any claim (if shes not insured) would be via your DM's house insurance anyway.

Flyingprettycretonnecurtains Mon 30-Oct-17 19:17:22

She's only £12 p hour. I thought any claim would be via my mother's house insurance and what people are saying is what I thought. To be honest, she's not a great cleaner but is pleasant. My mother's had to speak to her about being on her phone a lot (so not working) and she has a habit of making a cup of coffee and sitting herself down to talk in her paid time but that, I think, has improved. She's not very quick and is somewhat picky in what she does and Ma has had to teach her how to clean a bathroom properly but she's a nice person if a bit dappy. Unfortunately, she is all that is available and my mother does need some help with cleaning due to her age. We don't live near at all. My sister is looking into another agency so hopefully that might work out.

Now, girding my loins to tell sister not to be so daft!

prh47bridge Mon 30-Oct-17 19:18:40

As far as the courts are concerned, if the cleaner can send someone else to do the work rather than do it herself, she is definitely not an employee. Even if she never actually sends a substitute, the right to do so is enough to mean this is not an employer/employee relationship. There are a number of other factors which may also indicate that she is not an employee.

If the cleaner is self employed your mother's house insurance will probably cover any liability she may have towards the cleaner. Indeed, some house insurance policies specifically include employers' liability if the policy holder pays a cleaner or gardener to help care for their property, so your mother would be covered even if the cleaner is not self employed.

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