Getting pregnant can be the first step to being an employer than many women have ever made. Although the thought of hiring a nanny or a childminder or au pair may seem far away, if you hire private antenatal care make sure you are doing so legally.
Ideally, hire a private obstetrician, midwife, maternity nurse or doula through the clinic they are linked to. This way you are making a straightforward payment to the clinic for specific services and not acting as an employer. If you are hiring them through an agency, make sure you are clear on key points:
• Are you paying the agency only for the hours worked or are you expected to pay the employers’ tax and national insurance for the person’s time?
• Is the person you have hired legally entitled to work in this country? The laws on who is liable for illegal workers has been tightened up in recent years and assumption that someone else (like the agency) has carried out checks is not a solid defence on your part.
• If you are not hiring through an agency which has given you clear, written confirmation that they are acting as employer and not you, you will need to see proof of citizenship or entitlement to work in the UK from the person you hire. You are required to take copies of any legal documents required.
• Be clear about any period of notice you might need to give should you decide to change your arrangements.
If you are hiring on a private one-to-one basis
• Be clear if you are hiring someone direct – on what basis you are paying them? Are you paying for services only, where that person is responsible for their own tax and national insurance, or are you paying them as their employer? If it is the latter you need to be clear of their entitlement to work in the UK – as above – you also need to know if the sum you have been quoted as their fee is net or gross. Net means that their fee does not include tax and employer’s national insurance that you will have to pay, but gross means these extras have been included. It can make a big difference to the sum you end up paying.
• Liability and a contract of work. You should be clear on what terms you have employed someone’s services, and be clear regarding any period of notice you might have to give should your needs change.
You will find useful advice regarding the specifics of employing someone’s services at the website for *HM Revenue & Customs.
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