Employing your own personal assistants, as well as being like a marriage, is also exactly the same as running any small business, both legally and in terms of managing your staff and responsibilities. Like any business, it is helpful to have a plan of what how you intend to spend the funding you have for care and support.
The first question is asked, after you have decided what you would like your staff to do, is how many personal assistants to you want, and what specific hours would you like them to normally work. The answer will depend on your own situation and the total number of hours you have. It is generally preferring to have more than one personal assistant if you have a lot of hours, more than 16 for example, so you are not totally reliant on one member of staff.
Choosing how many hours a personal assistant is an important decision. While you have the choice and control to decide when you wish personal assistants to work, it is important to create a job that is attractive to the types of people you would like working for you, and the hours will be the first thing someone will look at. Most people prefer a stable income and to know when they are going to work so they can plan their lives around it, and so this means for the most part, once you have decided how many hours and generally when, it is a decided you need to stick to.
While you may like several short calls throughout a day that it unlikely to be attractive to most prospective members of staff, and really, a care agenda may be a better solution. Personal assistants are more likely to prefer longer shifts, with breaks away from the workplace if relevant. Personal assistants are likely to desire enough hours to have a living wage if possible, or enough part-time hours (16 or 20 hours) to qualify for relevant in-work benefits.
The exact times to when staff come and go do not need to be set in stone, and may be flexible week from week, but in terms of the recruitment process, personal assistants will be looking for a clear idea of what is generally expected from them. It is also important the hours work for you, and you can achieve what you want within those hours.
While the type of support you require may mean the hours you require week from week will change, it is unlike any personal assistant would be attracted to a ‘zero-hour contract’ situation, preferring a stable income. It is therefore important to decide the guaranteed ‘basic’ hours you can offer, reserving funding for ‘over-time’ when you require it. It is also important you are prepared to pay for the basic contracted hours each week, even if you do not use all of them.
If your situation changes in the future, it is possible to renegotiate hours with your staff, giving them appropriate notice, although you may risk losing them if you continue to change the hours. It is important that the hours you pick if not about suiting your staff over your own needs.