Covid-19 guidance for PA Employers

There are now no official Covid-19 rules or restrictions in Scotland. However, this page includes some things you may wish to consider around Covid-19 as an Employer of Personal Assistants. 


General hygiene measures 

The Scottish Government have recognised that we are now living with COVID-19 as a respiratory illness like cold or flu. 

They advise following simple hygiene measures to avoid the risk of infection, like: 

  • trying to stay at home if you have symptoms 
  • if you have symptoms and do need to go out, wear a well-fitting face covering 
  • get the vaccine if offered to give you the best possible protection 
  • wash your hands regularly 
  • meet in well-ventilated spaces. 

You can find more suggestions for how to stay well at the link at the bottom of this page. 



‘Self-isolating’ (staying at home) is no longer a legal requirement. If one of your PAs tells you they suspect they have Covid-19, or have tested positive, but they feel fit to work, it is usually up to you to decide if you want them to work for you.  

You may have included a clause in your PAs’ contracts to set out under what circumstances you have the right to decide if a PA is fit to work. Speak to your insurance provider or get legal advice if you do not have this clause and want to include it – you will need to follow a process to change any contracts. 


Face masks 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including face masks, is no longer available for free to people working in social care.  

You may have a Covid-19 policy in place that describes the measures your PAs should take to reduce the risk from Covid, including the use of PPE. You may also want to conduct a Covid-specific risk assessment to demonstrate what the risks are from Covid and what measures PAs should take to reduce risks, eg. wearing face masks and disposing of them in agreed ways.  

If your Covid-19 policy says that your PAs are required to wear PPE, it is your responsibility to provide this. Speak to your Local Authority about including the costs for PPE for your PAs in your budget. 

If you need advice about how to discuss the issue of face coverings with your PA(s), you can contact the ACAS helpline: 0300 123 1100. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. 

You can find more advice from ACAS at the link at the bottom of this page.  

A Face Covering Exemption Card scheme, delivered by Disability Equality Scotland, closed on 22 September 2023. Cards already in circulation can continue to be used, with no time limit on their use. 



Routine testing for Covid-19 is no longer available. 

You can buy Covid-19 tests from pharmacies, supermarkets and online if you suspect you have Covid-19 and want to check. 

If you have done a risk assessment for Covid-19, you may have decided that asking your PAs to test for Covid regularly is an appropriate method of reducing risk. If so, it is up to you to provide the tests they need. Speak to your Local Authority about including the costs for tests for your PAs in your budget. 



In winter 2023, only the following groups of people are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine: 

  • frontline health and social care workers (including Personal Assistants) 
  • residents and staff in care homes for older adults 
  • people aged 65 and over 
  • people aged 6 months and over with a condition that places them at higher risk 
  • regnant women 
  • carers aged 16 and over 
  • people aged 12 and over who are household contacts of people with a weakened immune system. 


As an employer, you cannot make your Personal Assistants get a Covid-19 vaccine. There may be reasons your PA cannot or does not want to be vaccinated – for example, pregnancy, religious beliefs or a disability, so including this in a contract of employment may lead to a claim of discrimination. 

Check out the factsheet from the Independent Living Group, ‘Can I insist that my PA gets the coronavirus vaccine’? at the bottom of this page for more information.  

If your PAs are happy to be vaccinated, you can support them to take up the vaccine by giving them paid time off work to get it. 

You can check if you, or your Personal Assistant(s), are eligible for the vaccine, at the NHS Inform website.   

Some local health boards are offering drop-in clinics for people eligible for the vaccine. You can find more information on the NHS Inform website.  


Long covid 

Some people who have had Covid-19 continue to experience symptoms that last for a long time after the infection. This is known as ‘long covid’. 

If one of your PAs has long covid, you may need to consider what support they need to be able to continue in their job.  

You can find advice from ACAS in the link at the bottom of this page. 


Next steps 

Take a look at the resources available below to guide you in more detail.

Part of
Last Updated
23 November 2023
First Published
23 November 2023
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It is possible to employ a family member to provide support. However, this must be supported by the Local Authority's agreement. There are also other considerations.

Equality and Diversity Considerations

PA Employers need to treat their PAs fairly and not to discriminate against them on the basis of a personal or 'Protected Characteristic', such as their gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity or martial status.

Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland Information

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland, was set up to administer ILF for existing recipients of the fund in Scotland. ILF Scotland provides financial awards to over 3,000 disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland to help them live independently. Their funding enables individuals to pay for care so that they can be supported in their homes and within their local communities. Many people receiving ILF Funding also employ their own PAs. ILF Scotland also administer other specific funds available to disabled people.

The Role of Local Authorities (Councils)

Local Authorities have an important role in making sure that SDS works well and PA Employers have the information and support they need to meet their needs.

The Role of Information and Support Organisations

Local Independent Support Organisations provide free information and guidance at any stage of the SDS process, often from people who have experience of being a PA employer. Using a local organisation like this can help employers understand the process, prepare for their next steps and access services that make being a PA employer easier.

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Training for PA Employers and PAs

PA employers have a responsibility to ensure that their PA(s) receive any relevant training related to their role. It is important that a PA adheres to the guidance given within training as this is often a legal requirement.

The Law for PA Employers

When you become a PA Employer there are certain legal responsibilities that you take on. Whilst these might seem daunting at first, it is important to know that you can get a lot of support to understand these and to meet the responsibilities you have, from both an Independent Support organisation and your Council.

PA Employers Employment Responsibilities

This outlines the types of responsibilities that PA Employers have towards their employees, covering the recruitment and on-going support of PAs, as well as the administration required as an employer.

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Your Agreement with Your Local Authority (Council)

When a PA Employer decides to employ their own PAs and choose Option 1 of SDS, the Council will normally have an agreement that they ask the PA Employer to sign. This agreement will set out the responsibilities of both the PA Employer and Council in relation to such things as finances, record keeping and monitoring the spend of the SDS budget. It is important for PA Employers to check the agreement to make sure it is right for them.

PA Employment Status

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The Recruitment Process

When a PA Employer decides to recruit a Personal Assistant, there are a number of things they need to think about and plan for. So for example, it will be important to have a clear job written description for the PA, a plan to advertise the job and a plan to cover the interviewing of potential PAs. It is important that the expectations under employment law are followed during the recruitment process.

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Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG): For PA Employers

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) is a membership scheme which makes sure its members are allowed to work with children or protected adults. Anyone who wants to work with children or vulnerable adults will need to have a PVG check first and become members of the scheme. PA Employers will need to request a PVG check for any new potential PAs they want to employ.

Introduction to Health and Safety

Working in a safe way is a legal requirement and an employer is responsible for the health and safety of their employees in the workplace which could be your home. The main areas to be aware of are listed here.

Covid-19 guidance for PA Employers

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