Knowing Who Your Employer Is

When you work as a Personal Assistant (PA) you are employed by an individual, not by an agency.

Usually your employer will be the person that you are supporting. Your role is to follow their instructions and requests, as you are employed to support them in living independently, participating in their community and achieving the best possible quality of life.

In some instances, a PA is employed by someone other than the supported person. The employer could be the parent or Guardian of the person you support.

In the case of children and young people, the employer is likely to be the child’s parent. Where the supported person is an adult who lacks a certain level of capacity, you may be employed by their Power of Attorney or Welfare Guardian.

Dealing with differences of opinion when your employer is not the person you support

When the employer is not the person receiving support, there may, at times, be conflicting requests on how the PA provides support.

The employer may have given you clear instructions about how to provide the support needed, but the person you are supporting may like to do things in a different way.

In this situation, it would be good practice to speak to your employer about it, so that they are aware of the situation and can agree with you, and the supported person, how best to manage the differences and ensure appropriate support is provided.

If you believe the difference of opinion may lead to an increased risk to the supported person or to yourself, it is a good idea to discuss this with the employer as soon as possible. Keeping clear communication with the employer and the supported person is key, and the employer might need to reconsider how the support is provided and discuss this with the supported person.

Checking who your employer is

If you’re not sure who your employer is, you can check in 3 ways:

  1. Ask the person you support
  2. Check your payslip, as this will specify the name of your employer
  3. Check your Contract of Employment, which should also specify the name of your employer.

It is important to note that some employers use a payroll service to manage PA wages and payslips. This company’s name may appear on your payslips, but they are not your employer.

Next steps

Check out the article below for advice on managing your working relationship with your employer.

Part of
Last Updated
23 January 2024
First Published
01 April 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.