Budget Considerations

Piggy bank with coins and saving book bank on wooden table

Here is what potential employers should be aware of when working out how much is needed in a budget to pay for the costs of employing Personal Assistants. Independent SDS Information and Support Organisations can assist with this.

The easiest way to stay on top of employee costs is to use a payroll service or accountant. Search for a payroll service using the Find Help search tool.

Budgets are broken up into regular costs and contingency costs.

Regular costs are things like:

  • Personal Assistants’ wages (including their holidays and pension)
  • insurance
  • a payroll service (if you choose to use one).

Contingency costs are things like:

  • emergencies
  • training
  • sick pay.

Personal Assistant Wages

Each April the Scottish Government sets the minimum rate for social care workers including Personal Assistants. You can find out what the current rate is here: Minimum hourly rate for PAs

This is the amount paid to a PA before taking out tax or other deductions. This is a specific rate that only applies to PAs that support adults (people 18+). Please note, this rate does not apply to PAs of children and young people, although they should still be paid at least the national living wage. You can find out more about this here: National Minimum Wage and Statutory Payment Rates

Wages usually increase with time, so this should be considered in the budget process. If there is no increase in the planned budget then the contingency budget would need to factor this in.


If you use a payroll company or an accountant, they can usually help you set up a pension for your Personal Assistants. Most companies charge a set up fee for arranging pensions. The charge for this can be between £50 and £150. This money should be factored into the contingency budget, because you might not know exactly how many employees might want this option.

Some Local Authorities provide the pension set up fees as part of the start up costs for recruiting PAs.

Employers must currently contribute at least 3% of annual wage into a pension for each employee. Find out more about pensions here: Pensions and Auto-Enrolment (Workplace Pensions)


If you choose to use a payroll company, allow around £6 to £15 per week to pay for their services.

This is dependent on what service provider is chosen and is also based on the number of payslips produced, for example if casual workers are used.


Insurance for PA Employers can cost around £60 to £130 per year, however there are lots of different levels of insurance cover available.

As an Employers, you must be insured to protect you and others from issues that might arise, like an accident. The insurance required is Public and Employer’s Liability Insurance and this is often sold with Indemnity Cover which will cover an employer for financial losses from a claim.

Find out more about insurance here: Employers’ Liability Insurance for PA Employers

PA Holidays

The current statutory holiday entitlement for employees is 28 days (5.6 Weeks).

PAs must be paid while on holiday. The maximum statutory holiday entitlement is capped at 28 days, although employers may give more contractual holiday than that.

A replacement worker would need to be paid during the holiday, so calculating the additional contingency is based on the PA wages for the period of the holiday entitlement.



This is a budget that is set aside for things that may or may not happen. Below are examples of what this can be used for, but this is not everything you could face by way of an emergency.

Statutory sick pay

If a PA is off sick, they may be eligible for statutory sick pay. Find out the rules about statutory sick pay and how much you will need to factor into your budget here: National Minimum Wage and Statutory Payment Rates


Some training for PAs may be required by your insurance provider, for example moving and assisting training. Costs can vary but you can expect to pay around £100 per PA with an annual refresher of £100.

Additional hours

If the person being supported is unwell or has a family crisis, they may require extra hours of support. You may be able to build this into your contingency budget.

Redundancy and long term sick leave

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Redundancy payments (subject to eligibility criteria) are a legal requirement. Either of these may be more than a typical budget contingency may allow, and it is likely that additional money would need to be paid into the package to meet these costs. How the Local Authority manages these costs varies, and should be included in the package for clarity.

Next steps

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

Part of
Last Updated
18 April 2024
First Published
28 March 2022
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Please note that the information contained in this Handbook is provided for guidance purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Self Directed Support Scotland or any other contributing party.

The information does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal and professional advice from a lawyer about employment law matters, or an accountant/ tax specialist about taxation matters, and from HMRC and your insurers. You should not rely solely on the information in this Handbook. Support organisations listed in this Handbook can help you find appropriate sources of advice.