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Types of Personal Assistants


Your first step in recruiting a Personal Assistant

First you will need to decide what sort of business relationship you would like;

  • direct employment (PAYE)
  • contract with a self-employed PA (service agreement)
  • contract with an agency

What's the difference?

Employment Status

What does it mean?


If a PA is an employee then you directly employ them. IThey work under your direct control, are bound by your rules and procedures and will have to undertake the work personally. Tax and National Insurance will be calculated under PAYE. You must arrange for Public Liability insurance. You must pay them for 5.6 weeks holiday pa (or the equivalent pro-rata depending on the hours they work). This means you pay them while they are taking holiday and you will need to employ someone else to cover this period. You will need to build the cost of this into your budget.


If a PA is self-employed then they have their own business and are responsible for the success or failure of that business. They are responsible for paying their own Tax and National Insurance. They must also have their own Public Liability insurance cover and because they are providing a service to you, it is their responsibility to find replacement cover if they are sick. You do not need to pay holiday pay. The key aspect of using a self-employed person is that you are contracting for a service they will provide. It is usual to draw up a service agreement with a self-employed PA.

It is recommended that you seek advice before you agree to take on anyone claiming to be self-employed. You can check the status of the role you are offering using HMRC status indicator 


If you use an agency you set up a written agreement explaining your requirements and the agency is the employer and will find you an appropriate personal assistant. The agency will make the necessary checks, train and supervise the carer.



A further option you may wish to explore is to employ a PA on an as-and-when basis, either because you need them to cover another permanent employee or you have intermittent needs, it is likely this type of employment will be known as casual.

To be classed as a casual there has to be no obligation on your part to offer work or on the part of the casual person to accept work if it is offered. Because they are only offered work usually on an ad-hoc weekly basis for one or two shifts they will not be regarded as employees and only certain employment laws will apply. If you use these people on a regular basis they will cease to be regarded as casual and under employment law they will be considered employees.


Click here to go to 'Recruiting a PA'

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