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Payroll and Insurance

Managing your own payroll

If you want to take responsibility for calculating the pay of your Personal Assistant yourself you must comply with the legal requirements made by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You need to contact HMRC to register as an employer and, when registering, ask about the Simplified Deduction Scheme (SDS) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

As of October 2013, it will be mandatory to operate payroll in real time. This system, known as Real Time Information (RTI), will enable HMRC to collect information about tax and other deductions each time employers run their payroll.

If you are running your own payroll, you will need to use special software and further details about this are available online at the HMRC website: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/softwaredevelopers/paye/rti-software-forms.htm

If running your own payroll you must give your Personal Assistant wage slips. These can be purchased from stationers and must match the payroll software you are using, such as SAGE or TAS.

Please bear in mind that even if you run your own payroll throughout the year, the year end must be done by a professional accountant or bookkeeper in April. Ask HMRC or your support service for more information about this.

Using a payroll provider

Payroll providers will register you with HMRC and they will ensure that your Personal Assistant’s tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are calculated correctly. They also calculate how much Employers’ NIC there is to pay and deal with HMRC returns. A payroll provider will produce payslips based on the monthly timesheets you supply. You give these payslips to your Personal Assistant along with their wages.

There is a charge for using a payroll provider and your Direct Payment should include sufficient funding to cover payroll costs. Ask your support service about where to find a payroll provider in your area.

Keeping records

Whichever method of payroll you choose, it is essential to maintain and keep records of any payroll paperwork, for example, timesheets, HMRC payments
and wages/invoices paid.

National minimum wage 

You cannot pay your Personal Assistants less than the minimum wage. Your local authority will have standard hourly rates of pay for Personal Assistants. Ask your support service for guidance.

HMRC helplines

New employers line (less than 3 yrs) 0845 607 0143

Employers helpline (over 3 yrs) 0845 714 3143

Deaf/Hard of hearing textphone 0845 602 1380

Information about the minimum wage can be found on the HMRC website at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payerti/payroll/pay-and-deductions/nmw.htm

Minimum wage helpline 0845 600 0678


As an employer you have a legal duty to insure against accidents or injury to your staff, or accidents or injury caused by them while they are working for you. You will need to take out Public and Employers’ Liability Insurance. Public Liability Insurance is needed to insure you against any damage or injury caused to someone else, or your Personal Assistant, while they are working for you.

Employers’ Liability Insurance will insure you against your Personal Assistant having an accident while they are working for you, in cases where you might be held liable. The local authority should include the cost of Public and Employers’ Liability Insurance in the amount it gives you through Direct Payments. If your Personal Assistant only works inside your home, call your home insurance company to see if you are covered as an employer. It is advisable to include legal cover with your Public Employers’ Liability Insurance. You must check with your insurance company to ensure you follow their specific procedures. Not following the procedures could result in you not being able to claim the legal cost from your insurance company.

If you hire self-employed Personal Assistants, check they have their own liability insurance. If not, seek advice from your support service.