We have received many questions for Direct Payment holders and their employees, and from both employed PAs and self employed PAs.
The Department of Health and Social Care have confirmed that PAs are included in the definition of key workers. Each local authority has its own arrangements for issuing identify letters for PAs to support them in their essential travel to and from work. Follow this link for contact details
Purple’s number one priority during this unsettling period is to get payments made as swiftly and efficiently as possible. Guidance has been issued by Government and national employment organisations, such as ACAS, have published helpful guides for employers and employees.
If you are an Employer with a Direct Payment or Personal Health Budget
What happens if my regular care provision is closed because of Covid-19?
Some care providers are closing and are not able to provide care in support plans. If an employer is able to source an alternative care provider then they can go ahead and do that. If not, they will need to speak to the Local Authority (LA) or Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about their care needs.
Can I spend my Direct Payment in a different way to the agreed support plan if my regular care cannot be provided?
The local authorities and CCGs have advised the need to be flexible about how Direct Payment and Personal Health budgets are spent during this emergency period. This means that if you are able to source alternative care and support or alternative activities to support your independence. This will be kept under review but as long as the proposed spend is in the spirit of the support plan and the budget then Purple are authorised to process these payments.
What happens if decide I want to self isolate and do not need my carers?
If you are self isolating it is your decision if you do not want your PA to continue to visit and continue providing support.
You will need to continue to pay your PA if you have asked them not to visit but you can require them to take annual leave if they have time accrued and available to use.
If working on a zero hours contract there is no requirement for you to continue to pay them if you don’t wish them to visit or provide support.
What happens if my PA needs to self isolate?
All employed PAs who are advised to self isolate by NHS111, including those on zero hours contracts, who have worked regularly for an employer over the past 3 months will be entitled to SSP if they meet the criteria and earn on average £118 per week. SSP is £95.85 per week which is available if your PA is too ill to work. It is paid by you for up to 28 weeks.
If your PA(s) needs to self isolate please make sure that you contact the LA or CCG if you cannot get alternative support and essential care tasks are required.
What happens to PA annual leave left over at the end of the year?
As the employer, Government guidance allows you agree to carry forward unused annual leave for two years. Alternatively you can agree to pay the PA for unused annual leave.
Do the Furlough leave rules apply to me if I employ PAs?
As the Direct Payment money is public funds, employers are not able to use the Government’s Furlough scheme. Additional advice around this can be found on the Government website where it states:
Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs.
Government guidance for care providers can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-home-care-provision
If you are an Employed PA
An employed PA is employed by the Direct Payment holder and receives a wage and payslip following submission of a timesheet. The employer, with Purple’s payroll service, manages pay, HMRC tax and national insurance payments.
As an employed PA, you will have a contract of employment with your employer which sets out employment terms, including sick pay, annual leave and health and safety.
If I am unable to work, do I still need to submit a timesheet?
Yes. You must continue to submit timesheets. If you are not able to work you must state the reason on the timesheet when you submit it to Purple. The reasons include:
Employer does not require me to work
Self isolating without an isolation note
Self isolating with isolation note attached
What if my employer is not able to or refuses to sign the timesheet?
Purple must have confirmation that the timesheet is an accurate record of hours completed. In the event that you are unable to work and cannot get your employer’s signature for your timesheet, send it to Purple with a clear statement about why the employer is unable to sign. Purple will contact the employer to confirm and then process it.
What happens to my pay if my employer does not want me to come to work because they do not want to take the risk of infection?
In this situation, you are entitled to full pay.
What happens to my pay if I can’t work because my job involves supporting my employer with activities in the community?
In this situation, you are entitled to full pay.
What happens to my pay if I cannot come to work because I have received a letter from the Government (letters sent to 1.5 million people) asking me to stay at home for 12 weeks?
If this applies to you then the employment contract agreement for sick pay is applied which usually means you can apply for Statutory Sick Pay.
What happens to my pay if I have to stay at home to look after children or not wanting to risk getting infected themselves?
In this situation, you would have to take unpaid leave. You may be able to negotiate with your employer to take paid annual leave if you have accrued enough time.
What happens to my pay if I am showing symptoms of Covid-19?
This would have been confirmed by NHS111 and you will need to self isolate for 7 days. You will receive an isolation note by email from NHS111 and you should send this to Purple with your timesheet. Purple will then process your entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you qualify, as referred to earlier.
What are the arrangements for SSP?
If you are staying at home because of Covid-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been asked to do a household quarantine.
SSP is paid from day 1, rather than day 4, of your absence from work if you are absent from work due to sickness or need to stay at home due to Covid-19. Effective from 13 March.
If you have Covid-19 or are advised to stay at home you can get an isolation note by visiting NHS 111 online rather than visiting a doctor. For Covid-19 this replaces the usual fit for work note after 7 days of sickness.
If you are a Self Employed PA
What happens to my pay if I am not able to work?
In all circumstances, the arrangements are different for self employed PAs compared to employed PAs. Self employed PAs are not able to claim Statutory Sick Pay and are not entitled to be paid by the employer if they have not worked.
Self employed PAs should have employment insurance as the first port of call for financial protection.
The Government has announced a support package for self employed workers. HMRC will be writing direct to people if they qualify for a payment during the Covid-19 emergency.