Managing your Working Relationship

Young man with Down's Syndrome with support worker, arms around each other, looking to camera

As a Personal Assistant (PA) you’ll have a unique relationship with your employer. You’re supporting them to do the things they’re not able to do and although this can feel like a personal relationship, it’s not. Remember you’re the employee and you need to remain independent and professional.

It’s important to understand the impact that certain circumstances may have on your employer, for example, if you don’t or can’t turn up to work.

There are times when being a personal assistant could be personally difficult or emotional, particularly if it involves working with a person at the end of their life. It may feel like you’re supporting your employer’s family as well. As such, there may, from time to time, be challenges with the relationship between you and your employer.

Any problems should be addressed properly and as laid out within the terms of your employment contract, which should include what do if you want to raise a grievance. You should discuss how issues can be addressed early on in your relationship with your employer.

Be clear from the start

At the start of your employment, you and your employer should establish boundaries about how you’ll relate to each other, and discuss how you’ll deal with any problems, for example, if boundaries have become blurred or if either of you are unhappy with something.

Talk to your employer

Just as your employer will expect you to fulfil your employment duties, you have a right to expect your employer won’t do anything which puts you in danger or ask you to break the law or which breaches your terms and conditions of employment.

If you feel that your employer is asking you to do something that’s risky or goes against what you’ve been trained or agreed to do, you should speak with them. 

Next steps

In all cases, it’s recommended that you raise any concerns directly with your employer in the first instance so that any issues/concerns can be sorted out amicably. Your employer should provide you with a mechanism to raise a formal grievance , if necessary.

However, if you’re unable to resolve the issue directly and need employment advice you can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). Their details can be found in the link below.

Part of
Last Updated
17 January 2023
First Published
15 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.