It is likely that any live in carer would be a 'worker'
if not an employee. As such, they will have certain employment
entitlement to be paid the national
minimum wage (unless the exemption for family workers applies
– this is where an individual is treated as part of the
employer's family and does not pay for food or accommodation
but shares in family life and leisure activities);
statutory paid holiday, as well as
regular rest breaks; and
there may be an obligation to
'auto-enrol' individuals into a pension scheme and make
contributions on the individual's behalf.
Ensure they're paid the national minimum wage
If accommodation is offered rent free then only a small amount
can be set off against the obligation to pay the national minimum
wage – currently £6 per day. It is not possible to pay
the individual and then to collect 'rent' from them –
the individual will need to receive the national minimum wage (less
the offset) in addition to any free accommodation offered.
Understand the tax position on any accommodation provided
If the accommodation is 'essential' or if the individual
is required by the employer to occupy the property for the better
performance of the role, then the arrangement may be a genuine
service occupancy. If not, income tax and/or NICs may be due on the
value of the benefit in kind (and possibly in certain cases, SDLT
may be payable). This would pose practical funding problems if the
individual was not in fact being rewarded in money (or if any
amount of money paid were less than the amount of tax properly
payable in respect of the value of benefits in kind).
Carry out your duties as an employer
The employers will need to set up a payroll account with HMRC to
process payments, including paying employer NICs (if applicable).
Other compulsory steps such as securing employer's liability
insurance will also be necessary, and the employers may need to
notify and, where applicable, get consent from other interested
parties such as home insurers, mortgagors or lessors.
Ensure Health and Safety isn't an afterthought
Health and safety is always an important consideration, and with
caring roles it will be necessary to carry out a risk assessment
and implement training and other measures where appropriate,
including in relation to safeguarding.
Document and keep records
Arrangements should be documented and clear – particularly
in relation to what happens to the accommodation if the role is
terminated for any reason. Appropriate records should be kept, in
particular in relation to working hours.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Court of Appeal has held that where a contract of employment lacks a provision for when notice of termination takes effect, it is effective from when the employee personally takes delivery of the letter containing notice.
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