Ending a PA’s Employment

There are certain things an employer must do to comply with employment law, if they decide that they would like to bring someone’s employment to an end, including giving notice and dismissal.



Occasionally, a PA Employer will need to ask their PA to leave their role. This means they will need to sack or dismiss them. In law there are different conditions that need to be met before you can safely sack or dismiss an employee. For example, when dismissing staff, you must do it fairly.

Dismissal is potentially fair if an employer can show that it is for one of the following reasons:

  • A reason related to an employee’s conduct
  • A reason related to an employee’s capability or qualifications for the job
  • Because of a redundancy
  • Because a statutory duty or restriction that prevents the employment being continued
  • Some other substantial reason of a kind which justifies the dismissal.

Even if the PA Employer has a fair reason, the dismissal is only fair if you also act reasonably during the dismissal and disciplinary process.

Even if they have acted reasonably, some reasons for dismissal are classed automatically unfair, such as those relating to:

  • Pregnancy: including all reasons relating to maternity
  • Family reasons: including parental leave, paternity leave (birth and adoption), adoption leave or time off for dependants
  • Representation: including acting as an employee representative
  • Trade union membership grounds and union recognition
  • Part-time and fixed-term employees
  • Pay and working hours: including the Working Time Regulations, annual leave and the National Minimum Wage
  • Whistleblowing.

An employee can complain to an Employment Tribunal if they think they have been dismissed unfairly. In most circumstances employees need to have completed a minimum period of service before they can make a complaint to an employment tribunal about an unfair dismissal, which is:

  • Two years for employees starting employment on or after 6th April 2012.

However, there is no length of service requirement in relation to automatically unfair grounds (see above).


It is important to get professional legal advice if a PA Employer is thinking about dismissing their PA. It is essential that PA Employers also speak to their insurance company before any action is taken against a PA, to ensure this is done legally.


Notice periods

Both the employee and employer are normally entitled to give and receive a minimum period of notice on termination of employment. This will be the amount stated in the contract or the statutory minimum notice period, whichever is longer.

The notice period is the amount of time between the decision to terminate an employment contract and the date that the contract actually ends. This is regardless of who actually makes the decision to terminate, whether it’s the employee because they want to leave or whether it’s because you want the employee to leave.

If a Personal Assistant (PA) Employer does not wish their PA to work their notice period, they could give them a payment in lieu of notice. This represents pay they would have received during the notice period.

A PA Employer may not be obliged to give their PA a notice period or payment in lieu of notice if they decide to dismiss them straight away, such as in cases of gross misconduct.


Next steps

Take a look at the resource available below on ‘SOSR Dismissal Breakdown in Relationship – PA’ guidance notes.

Part of
Last Updated
11 January 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.