Coronavirus advice for people who receive direct payments

This information is for people who receive direct payments to employ their own support staff (personal assistants, PAs, carer workers or paid carers). We have used the term “worker” on this page.

If you use a care agency, they should have their own measures in place to carry on providing your support.

It is important to keep on planning with your workers so you get the support you need. Please think about your plans if you or you worker are unwell or are advised to self-isolate. We understand that this may not be easy and you may need practical help and support to do so. If your worker is concerned they have the coronavirus (COVID-19) they should follow NHS advice. If they are advised to self-isolate at home they should follow the stay at home guidance.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, and you need “hands-on” care, then the risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures. This may include your worker using personal protective equipment such as aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks and eye masks where needed. Please check the NHS and government websites or helplines for the latest advice about infection control.

Remember that the information may change, so please ensure you and your workers keep up to date with the latest advice.

Employer and worker responsibilities

Please be aware of your responsibilities as an employer and the rights of your workers. The Direct Payment Support Service can provide advice on employment issues. Their details are included at the bottom of this page.

Advice for workers coming into your home

Workers must follow the strictest hygiene measures. This is vital to reduce transmission of the virus.

Please also ensure your worker cleans and disinfects objects and surfaces they have touched during their visit.

How to manage the situation:

  • keep checking the latest NHS advice
  • check advice on self-isolating that may affect you or your workers
  • take steps to prevent the spread of the virus
  • avoid unnecessary contact, for example, don’t shake hands
  • if you have a child or anyone else at home, please have a conversation with your worker about this (and vice-versa)
  • Some residents may be more at risk or particularly concerned about the virus:
  • have a conversation with your worker, discuss any health conditions you have that might put you at a higher risk
  • make an informed decision based on the guidance

Your worker’s rights

  • If you tell your worker not come into work (they have not been told to self-isolate), they will be entitled to their full pay as it is a contractual right.
  • You could discuss with your worker the possibility of using some of their annual leave during this time but do not force this on them and it is their right to say no.
  • If your worker is sick or self-isolating on the basis of official advice, they may be entitled to SSP (statutory sick pay) depending on their earnings. Your payroll company can advise. Your worker must inform you they need to self-isolate and you will need to inform your payroll service of this.
  • If your worker self-isolates by choice, they will not be entitled to SSP at this time.

The government has been making changes to protect people’s jobs and income. Please check the latest information.

If I self-isolate does that mean I go without care?

No. It is recognised that you may not be able to manage without your worker so you can still receive your care and support.

It is vital that whilst your workers still work in your home, you take all the necessary precautions to ensure that your home is a safe place to work. This may include providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves, masks and hand sanitiser.

Please follow the government’s guidelines on best practice:

What should I tell my employees to do?

If your workers are fit and able to work, they should carry on working for you. It is absolutely vital that they take this situation seriously and follow any new health and safety rules you implement. This is to protect you and them, and to prevent spreading the infection to the larger public.

Employees should not remove PPE without your permission and should inform you when stocks are low.

Coronavirus testing for personal assistants

Personal assistants (PAs) employed by direct payment users are eligible for coronavirus testing. This can help you and your PAs make a decision about them working if they have symptoms. Please see information about how and when PAs can access the coronavirus testing programme.

Coronavirus testing kits for essential workers

If you're an essential worker who is self-isolating (not able to leave home), you can now apply for you and your household to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please see Guidance on coronavirus testing for essential workers who are self-isolating

How can I show that my employee is a ‘key worker’?

Carers are essential key workers, so they are permitted to travel and attend work despite the latest restrictions. H&F have provided letters for you to give your workers so they can show they key workers.

Condition specific advice

Lots of organisations that support people with specific conditions have developed their own relevant information. There is also helpful information from Carers UK.

General advice

For general advice you can call the Public Health England Helpline 0300 303 0450

Direct Payment Support Service

If you have any questions or queries particularly about employment issues, you can call the Independent Living Direct Payment Support Service at Action on Disability. They can help you with the latest guidance about your worker’s rights:

020 3080 0380
Action on Disability direct payment support service

You can also call your legal advice helpline for guidance. You will need your Insurance Policy Number to hand:

  • Fish – Peninsula: 0800 028 2420
  • Mark Bates LTD (The Home of Premier Care) can use MSL legal advice service: 0161 603 2167

Letter to direct payment users and individual employers from H&F Council, 25 March 2020 (pdf)