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Benefits: Personal Care

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 18 December 2007

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What safeguards are in place to protect recipients of personal care budgets, who thereby become employers, from contravening employment laws. [HL1032]

Individuals have been able to have a cash payment, called a direct payment, in lieu of a social care service since 1997. With a direct payment, an individual can choose to contract directly with individuals or purchase services from agencies. If someone decides to employ a personal assistant directly (even for only a few hours a week), they have the same legal responsibilities as any employer has towards their employee.

We know that these sorts of responsibilities—for example, paying tax and national insurance and arranging liability insurance and the provision of statutory leave entitlements—can be a barrier to the uptake of direct payments. Local councils should consider ways of making support mechanisms available to help direct payments recipients to manage their new responsibilities as employers.