Direct Payments Scheme Users Falling Foul Of Employment Law

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Care users are increasingly ending up in employment tribunals because they are unaware of their legal responsibilities as an employer under the Department of Health's Direct Payment scheme, according to employment law specialist ELAS.
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I am becoming convinced that the complex employment laws designed for large scale industrial and commercial enterprises and promoted by Trades Unions are utterly unsuitable in a domestic context.
I earn fairly good money myself, but work from home as I am on a casual contract of payment by assignment/commission/results. I have no job security at all, and I don't need or want it. So why cant we extend this type of casual but mutually beneficial system, thereby creating lots of new jobs? There is a lot to be said for informal working arrangements, because lots of people actually prefer them.
Is this just another case of passing the buck and the cost onto Carer's. Has If we don't have enough to do, even more pressure, surly it would be better to standardise the care service's across the country and put the control of these service's into non-profit making hands.
Is this just another case of passing the buck and the cost onto Carer's. Has If we don't have enough to do, even more pressure, surly it would be better to standardise the care service's across the country and put the control of these service's into non-profit making hands.
Standardisation is the kiss of death, and the ice cold hand that would destroy personalisation in vitro. Thats exactly what we dont need. My wife and I hire age-appropriate companions for my son, who are mostly aged under 18 and still at school or college, because they substitute for the friends he finds it very hard to make. The last thing we want or need is having some intermediary taking a slice for the dubious benefit of "managing" these jolly young people. I think we can do that ourselves, thankyou, it isnt really rocket science, is it? It isnt really any more difficult than hiring a plumber, boiler-repairman, decorator or a gardener. Sure, you get it wrong at first, and you learn by your mistakes, and gradually get it right.
Sorry Excalibur, but you are not responsible for employing a plumber: they are self-employed. You are responsible for hiring and firing and the health and safety, tax, NI and all necessary training, holidays and everything else to do with J's staff. Learning by mistakes is what has put carers and their carees on the wrong side of an employment tribunal with no support from the powers that be who handed over responsibility with the cash. And often with no warnings.

And remember that unless a care worker has more than one customer, and can provide cover if they are unwell or on holiday, they cannot be self-employed and take the responsibility for themselves. HMRC won't allow it.
Hi All,
Please bare with me, has I am new to this forum and to any forums come to that, I am even more worried about how this scheme is run. I worry how people are allowed to take on this scheme and find themselves in court, because they cannot do something as simple as hiring a plumber, boiler repairman or a decorater (there are some cowboys out there). I also know worry about cost, I didnot realise they were on that much an hour. Mabe I am the simple lazy Idle person, but I feel I have enough on my hands taking care of my mother (vascular dementia) 24/7 and all the house work etc, to be in a position to get re-educated on employment law and everything else it intails to run a small business, without profit. I stupidly, like probably many others, thought that when somebody feel ill, tah the NHS eas set up to take care of them, idiot me. And anyway, What are the accountants employed (on greater money than me) at the NHS meant o be doing.
We're on Direct Payments and all our PAs for hubby, work as self-employed PAs. They give us an invoice for wages owed, we transfer money from DP account into their bank account and that's that.
It's up to THEM whether they pay their tax or not, not us.
Personalisation employment law: A new can of worms?

[quote]“Service users who lose financial support from councils may be liable to substantial redundancy payments if they dismiss their personal assistants, an insurance company has warned.

Fish Insurance, which covers thousands of direct payments recipients against their employment costs, reported that monthly enquiries about redundancy had jumped by 74% between July and September this year.

“We’re now handling about 150 enquiries a month relating to redundancy or restructuring employment terms, which might lead to redundancy,â€
Self-employed contracts make much more sense to the carer, but some care-workers dont want to be self employed, because the tax returns and paperwork are a bit of a pain. And it only really works if you are employing someone less than 18 hours a week or on a fixed term of less than a year. So maybe we need a compromise, self-employed yes, but with an annual bonus to help pay for a a book-keeper to do the accounts?
This is why we use out DPs to pay for care from Crossroads rather than employ a PA and becoming employers ourselves. We have the same carers each week so we have continuity of care. We choose the hours we want BUT we don't have to worry about training, health and safety, sickness leave, holidays, unsuitable employees etc. If we are not happy for any reason one call to Crossroads and it's their problem not ours.

Having been Chair of a voluntary organisation and having had problem with one of the employees i am aware just what a minefield employment law can be. There was no way i was going to risk that with my husband's care. We really don't need the stress.

Using Crossroads we have minimal paperwork and we are 'customers' not employers. Plus which any profit made by Crossroads goes back into providing free care for other carers. Perfect.