Wednesday, 8 July 2015

RANT- Payroll companies for carers

 So It's been a while since I had a rant here on the blog....but this post is definitely going to be one! 
......But hear me out..... as it may be a very valid rant for those of us who look after our own care budgets and use payroll companies to help with pay calculations, payslips, and tax and national insurance liabilities.

You start out (at the beginning of time) purely as a parent/carer of a disabled child...... and over time somehow you end up as a "multi-conglomerant employer of care workers" with all the extra responsibilities that the roll entails.  For some people that may not be such a big deal as they may very well have done that roll before... but for others like myself (who had never employed anyone before) it can be a hugely daunting task.

Way back when the direct payments first came in to existence, you were handed the forms to fill out for the yearly subscription of the payroll company, told to fill out a quarterly return (to show how much money you spent on care and to whom) and were then left to get on with it. Having been given zero training and having had virtually no input or advice throughout the years it has been somewhat of  a "suck it and see type process" (I'm hoping that it's much better these days??)

Some of the more casual care workers we have used for Heni's care have been on a "self employed basis" but for the more permanent/regular care workers through the years, we have used Enable payroll to  act as agent on our behalf.  When you subscribe to Enable Payroll they have some pretty neat promises on their web site....they advertise..... 

"it’s our job to relieve you of the worries that come with being an employer, so you can concentrate on achieving the quality of life you are hoping for"

"We are hassle free""All you have to do is pay your PA or carer on the basis of our payslips and pay HMRC on the basis of our quarterly summary."

....and all this for the cost of a yearly subscription of about 300+ pounds (GB).
They supply payslips, calculate all the figures...and all you have to do is tell them how many hours your care worker tend to put your trust and rely on those who you think know better.

Just before Christmas one of the care workers decided she no longer wanted to do care work. So I emailed the payroll company, asked them to do all the final calculations, organise a P45 form (which in England signifies the end of employment) and do all the tax and NI liability.  End of story! Or is it?

Months down the line I get an email from the payroll company stating that the former employee had inquired about holiday pay and was due a considerable amount of hours and that I needed to pay it?!?!?!?!?!  When I questioned this.....they told me that I should have instructed them to calculate it.
Surely with my subscription to Enable I had paid THEM to calculate and inform ME of what I should be paying the carer?  They had done it before so why not now? Surely I pay what they tell me on the payslip? Ideally BEFORE she left? Surely they should have  calculated any entitlements for holiday PRIOR to  a P45 could ever be drawn up and being sent out?

 If you use such software as Sage (or the like)... I am told that this should automatically "flag up" and alert you to the fact that a payment is due AND a P45 cannot be issued without doing this? If on the other hand Enable calculate by "human"... then surely it is "Enables human error" and they should have been aware of this?

... After saying that "it's between me and the FORMER employee", sadly I have to report that they have gone silent on me and refuse to be liable. Now, I am aware that the former employee still doesn't have her holiday money that she is rightly due.... but because of Enables behaviour to both of us..... she is now coming after me for it..... 
I would like to know how many of you out there think that Enable should be the one.... who in an instance like this.... should accept liability, atone for their mistake and cough up? 
Isn't that what their liability insurance is for.... for when they make a mistake?
How can a company like this, who purport to "relieve you of the worries that come with being an employer (so that I can concentrate on achieving the quality of life I am looking for)" do this sort of thing? It's even worse that they do it after I am no longer and employer!!

I would like to ensure that companies like this can't get away with this sort of behavior. It looks like they are taking advantage of the fact that there are parent/carers out there who simply don't have the time, energy, head space or desire to deal with this sort of ineptitude and lack of service and spend the time fighting back.... and  they get away with it.
If there is one learning point from this for me it is "don't trust that someone who is supposed to know how to do stuff..... actually does it!  If you are out there and listening ENABLE.....everyone makes mistakes from time to time..... admit yours...... man up and take it on the chin....
 if not......All I can say more  to the  parent/carer/employers out there is..... BUYER BEWARE.... 


I would love to hear what sort of experiences you have had with Payroll companies and Direct payments if you live in GB. (We are really lucky to have a direct payments system for care here). I'd be interested to hear what systems you have for care  and payroll in other parts of the world? Come visit me on at Henibean on Facebook and leave your comments. 

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