Hiring your own personal car assistant can be a life-changing decision, but for many it is their first experience of becoming an employer – often without realising it. The home-based and personal nature of the work makes the employment relationship much more intense than in the conventional workplace.

One of the difficulties encountered is how to approach ‘sleepovers’ when a carer stays the night and is on duty to provide care if necessary.

The carer is most likely not to be self-employed or a volunteers and lives elsewhere, so he or she is likely to be entitled to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage for the overnight stay, even if the main part of the job is during the day.

A recent ruling from the Employment Appeal Tribunal has suggested that if a carer is required to be present through the night and there is an agreement between parties that the carer would work during the night if needed, this period counts as work time and should be paid for accordingly. This is true even if the carer is not physically needed and sleeps all night because the job itself is to be present and available.

Employers should be aware of the rules around working hours also, governed by the Working Time Regulations. For example, if planning shifts, the carer needs to have at least 11 hours of consecutive rest in any 24-hour period, and one 20 minute rest break during work if the working day is longer than six hours.

The normal working hours of night workers are limited to an average of eight hours in any 24-hour period and they are entitled to receive regular health assessments to ensure they are fit to work at night.

We can give you advice and guidance on this subject so call Vincent & Co on 01803 500500 if you have any questions or concerns.