Because my carers will be domestic staff, I don’t need to pay tax and National Insurance. Is this true?

  • If they earn more than £100 per week it is your legal responsibility to set up and operate a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) scheme on their behalf and to declare their wages with HMRC – if you fail to do so you will be breaking the law

Do my carers qualify for sick pay?

  • Employees may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they are sick for more than three consecutive days, and earn above the Lower earnings limit (currently £102.00).
  • The current rate of SSP is £81.60 per week (tax year 2011/2012), and can be paid instead or as part of their normal rate of pay, or at your discretion. You may also be able to reclaim some of the costs from the state.

Do my carers qualify for holiday pay?

  • Yes. Current legislation provides that employees are entitled to a minimum 5.6 weeks holiday per year.
  • If you work on a part-time basis and you want to know how many days you are entitled to, simply multiply the number of days you work each week by 5.6. The total should be rounded up to the nearest 1/2 day.

Should my employer pay me for working on bank holidays?

  • You do not have a statutory right to paid holiday on bank and public holidays. If your employer gives paid holiday on a bank or public holiday, then this can count towards your minimum holiday entitlement (see above). There are eight permanent bank and public holidays in England and Wales (nine in Scotland and ten in Northern Ireland).
  • If you work on a bank or public holiday, there is no automatic right to an enhanced pay rate. What you get paid depends on your contract of employment.
  • If you are part time and your employer gives workers additional time off on bank holidays, this should be given pro rata to you as well, even if the bank holiday does not fall on your usual work day.

Does my carer need to complete a tax return?

  • No, providing all their income comes from employment. However, if they are a live-in employee and they own a flat or house, which they rent out, then they do need to complete a tax return.

My carer is pregnant; do I need to pay them maternity pay?

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) your employee must meet certain conditions.
They must have:

  • worked for you continuously – full or part-time – for at least 26 weeks up to and into the 15th week before the week the baby’s due
  • average earnings at least equal to the Lower Earnings Limit for NICs – £102 a week or £442 a month for 2011-12
  • given you the right paperwork confirming the pregnancy and sufficient notice of when they would like the SMP payments to start

For the first six weeks you must pay your employee SMP at he rate of 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings. For the next 33 weeks you must pay them the lower of the following:

  • £128.73 – from 3 April 2011
  • 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings