How much should I pay my Personal Assistant?
UPDATED: To include change to National Minimum wage effective 1st April 2019.
Working out how much you should pay your Personal Assistant is a balancing act of a few factors. Namely:
- What the candidate thinks they’re worth
- What the market rate dictates (i.e. what the average rate of pay is for that role)
- The scale of the impact this role has on your life
- How much you can afford to pay
Here’s a way to establish how much you should pay your Personal Assistant in 5 easy steps:
1. Write an accurate job description
Before you leap into thinking about pay, it’s important to have clarity about what you would like this person to support you with. Remember as an employer, you are taking on all the legal responsibilities that come with that so it’s important you get a return on your investment and time. The main to do that is to make sure you have a clear job description that accurately describes the role, your expectations and insight into the person you would ideally like to hire.
2. Understand minimum wage rates vs living wage rates `
To understand the general market rates, your first point of reference should be understanding the minimum hourly wage you have to pay if you are employing anyone in the UK.
The table below outlines the rates, taking into account your Personal Assistant’s age.
The living wage, however, differs from the minimum wage because it is independently calculated based on what people need to get by–usually referred to as ‘the cost of living’.
3. Look online
If you want to try to see what your competition is paying (and yes people with care needs who are hiring Personal Assistants are definitely your competition), have a look on job boards such as Indeed or Reed.
Type in the search term box ‘Personal Assistant/Carer’ or ‘Personal Care Assistant’ or ‘Private Care Assistant’ and your town or postcode (so you are only looking at vacancies in your area) and see what comes up.
4. Understand the additional costs involved in being an employer
There are additional costs you should consider, such as:
- Advertising for the role.
- Employers National Insurance Contributions which is 13.8% on a salary above the National Insurance Secondary threshold.
Although, you may be able to reduce this by using the governments Employment Allowance.
- Paying into a pension for your employee via auto-enrollment. Based on 2019/2020 tax year, this equates to you paying 5% of your Personal Assistant’s salary into a compliant pension scheme.
- Employer’s liability insurance. Most employers are legally obliged to have this policy. It can pay towards compensation costs and legal fees if a current or ex Personal Assistant sues you for illness or injury caused by working for you.
- Running a compliant Pay As You Earn (PAYE) payroll system to ensure the right Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) is accounted for. You may seek external support for this which comes at an additional cost).
- Adding them to your car insurance if you have a specially adapted car.
- Running a DBS check.
The true cost of your Personal Assistant has to include all these factors. Please don’t base your affordability on just the salary of your Personal Assistant alone.
5. Decide what type of employer you want and can afford to be
“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”
Quintessential British saying.
When considering paying only minimum wage, think about the quality of candidate you could get. If you are happy with someone who might just be looking for a job, and may not show long term commitment, you may be able to pay the minimum wage and be satisfied with the level of service you get.
Again, the role of a Personal Assistant is much more involved than a traditional carer role and it is important you find the right person.
What about if I hire a family member?
You might be exploring whether to use your Direct Payments or Personal Health budget to hire a family member as your Personal Assistant. If this is the case, observe the legal minimum wage applicable in the UK. And you have exactly the same legal responsibilities as an employer. Just because they are a member of your family, it does not make you exempt.
In summary, where possible, we would advise you to pay at least the Minimum Wage for your Personal Assistant. This will satisfy your legal responsibilities as an employer.
If you can afford it, I would advise you to pay more than the minimum wage as it comes with some additional advantages that make the increased cost worthwhile.
When you’ve decided on the hourly rate or salary you wish to pay your Personal Assistant, run the numbers again ensuring you have factored in the additional costs mentioned earlier.
If you need further guidance on this, get in touch via email@example.com with your contact details and we’ll do what we can to help.