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Direct payments: employees or self employed? - Carers UK Forum

Direct payments: employees or self employed?

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
I've come across reputable legal advice recently that suggests that all care-workers whom you employ should be on contracts as employees, not hired on a self-employed basis. I have no reason to dispute this: once a person is employed on a regular basis for a certain period - usually a year or two - they clearly acquire the same rights as employees under the law.
However, rightly or wrongly, I choose to ignore this advice, and employ staff on a self-employment basis. Why? What are the pros and cons?
Well, first off I hate paperwork, and self-employment means that the employee has to file their own taxes and NI, saving me a great deal of unpaid effort and time. I simply ask them to invoice me, and they get paid on the invoice for time and expenses.

Secondly, I pay them well above the going rate per hour, which means they are responsible for their own pension arrangements and so on. It would cost a bomb to register as an employer and set up a PAYE and pension scheme for staff - several hundred pounds a year in fact.

Whats the downside? Well, in theory if they decided to take me to a Tribunal on the grounds that they were technically employees, I would probably end up having to pay them off on normal redundancy terms.

But that wouldn't happen unless there was a very serious breakdown of relationships and/or unless they were being exceptionally stroppy or mercenary, and/or they were very knowledgeable and willing to make a fuss, and that is actually fairly unlikely. Well-paid local staff who are recruited carefully and looked after properly as members of the family team are generally a fairly safe bet.

And in any case, if they were paid as employees then they would have exactly the same rights of unfair dismissal , so whats the difference?

Sometimes, well meaning advice from the 'experts' is best ignored. You can really tie yourself up in this stuff if you are not careful.

Your thoughts?
As someone employed under DP scheme I come at it from a different angle. :lol: - I don't want to be self employed, hate paperwork as much as you. Plus the families do not need do the payroll down here if they don't want to. Many are giving names of companies by soc services.

My beef about that is that if you could calculate how many people take a cut of the money supplied before it reaches those needing support the amount would be immense. I would rather it was invested in supplying services to more people.

It's an interesting one. Having been both employed and self-employed - nothing to do with the care industry - like both of you, I hate paperwork. Not wishing to take sides, but, if we opted for DP, I'd probably take the same route as Scally. Then again, if we choose to opt out of the DP scheme, who actually benefits most? Care agencies, I would suggest. So it would seem, in England at least, going by Rosemary's post, the person most in need, often benefits least, whether we opt in, or out of, DP - unless we're prepared to take on the responsibilities of an employer, as well as being carers!