The number of elderly or infirm people who directly employ a care worker or personal assistant has been increasing in recent years.
Whilst the funding may come from a variety of sources, the relationship between the service user and the care worker/assistant is predominantly one of employer and employee. This means that the employer must operate PAYE and NIC on wages, deal with auto-enrolment for pensions and other statutory payments. Often the role of employer (the one giving the instructions – not necessarily the one receiving care) is then taken by another family member. These schemes are known as “Care and Support” (C&S) Employers.
A C&S Employer is specifically defined as an individual who employs a person to provide domestic or personal services at or from the employer’s home where the recipient of the services (who may either be the employer or a member of the employer’s family) has a physical or mental disability, is elderly or infirm. This is for directly-employed care workers, not those employed by a Care Agency (who then controls which worker goes to which patient and when). If you use a Care Agency to find carers for you, it is vital to check whether responsibility for employing then lies with you or the Care Agency or, very occasionally, if they are self-employed in their own right.
A C&S Employer can operate a simplified PAYE scheme (but not if the person operating the scheme already operates a PAYE scheme for other reasons) which can use quarterly instead of monthly, and in some circumstances can be allowed file on paper if you are demonstrably “digitally excluded” (i.e.: unable to use a computer compared to simply not wishing to). Further relief may also be available with the £4,000 employment allowance which works to reduce the amount of secondary (Employers) NIC an employer needs to pay (meaning it is not a grant of £4,000, instead a reduction of Secondary NIC of up to £4,000).
For C&S employees, there is also an exemption for board and lodging provided to “Home Care Workers” which otherwise can be taxed as an accommodation benefit on the employee and on which the employer have additional reporting requirements.