Hiring a Live-in Care
For anyone requiring support and assistance with their personal care but who wishes to retain an independent lifestyle, hiring a live in carer provides a practical alternative to moving into a residential nursing home.
A live in carer can provide as much or as little support and assistance as required whilst allowing you to stay in the comfort and security of your own home. A live in carer can improve quality of life by providing companionship, taking care of household duties and helping you to enjoy your hobbies and interests.
How do I hire a live in carer?
Essentially there are three options for hiring a live in carer.
- Option 1 – Hiring a live in carer independently
The first option is to independently find and employ your own live in carer or to have a friend or relative do this on your behalf.
Whilst this approach can be successful and provides the freedom to choose the most suitable carer from a potentially large pool of candidates, it must be borne in mind that the hirer is effectively the employer of the care-giver and is bound by the same legal obligations as any other employer.
As an employee, the live in carer is legally entitled to protection under Employers Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance, a written statement of employment, statutory sick pay and holiday pay. You must pay your live in carer at least the National Minimal Wage, ensure that they do not work more than the maximum allowed hours per week and provide adequate rest breaks. You may also be required to calculate applicable income tax and National Insurance contributions for the care and submit this information to HM Revenue and Customs.
It is important that anyone hiring a live in carer without the assistance of a third-party agency conducts a thorough interview, obtains verifiable references and obtains a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. You must also provide the carer with written guidance regarding disciplinary/grievance procedures and assume responsibility for protecting their health and safety whilst in your employment.
- Option 2 – Hiring a live in carer via an agency’s introduction service
Some agencies provide a live in carer introduction service which offers an easier, more cost-effective and less time consuming alternative to hiring a live in carer independently.
The benefit of using an introduction service is that carers have been vetted and deemed suitable by the agency. Live in carers introduced via an agency are typically registered as self-employed and therefore take care of their own tax and National Insurance arrangements.
As with hiring a live in carer independently, you are fully involved in the selection of a carer who is fully suited to your needs and lifestyle when using an introduction service.
- Option 3 – Hiring an agency-employed live in carer
The easiest, most convenient and safest option for hiring a live in carer is to choose one that is fully employed by a reputable care provision agency and is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The agency assumes all responsibility for the vetting, training and management of the carer and for the legal obligations relating to their employment.
Rather than paying the carer’s wages directly, a fee is paid to the managing agency which takes care of all taxation and National Insurance arrangements. In most cases the fee payable for the provision of an agency-managed live in carer is comparable to the costs of residency in a nursing home.
As with other methods of hiring a live in carer, when you opt for an agency-managed service you still have full participation in the selection process but with the added peace of mind that your carer has been carefully selected, checked and trained.
Although managed by an agency, the carer is still under your full direction and will provide as much assistance, whether simply companionship, domestic help, personal care or specialist care, as you require of them.
The Good Care Group has won more awards for its managed live in care services than any other UK home care provider. You can find out more about our one-on-one home care services here. Alternatively, to speak to someone about your home care requirements please call 0203 728 7577.