This resource covers hiring self-employed or independent support workers who have an Australian Business Number (ABN).
We have another resource about employing support workers directly if you are looking to employ workers on a full-time basis.
If you are plan managed, check this resource on how to hire support workers when you are plan managed.
Hiring your own support workers with an ABN is easy!
When you self-manage your NDIS Plan, there are unique ways that you can hire a support worker (other than engaging a care company) to help you achieve the goals set out in your NDIS Plan.
- Directly employ a support worker I.e you have an employment contract with them OR
- Hire an independent support worker as a contractor if they have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
Why or when would you consider hiring a support worker yourself?
It's WIN WIN - cheaper for you and the support worker earns more
Hiring your own support worker gives you the chance to negotiate their rates and hours. Being able to negotiate directly with a support worker (and not their employer) is almost certainly going to cost less than hiring a worker from a care company - and so your funding will last longer.
This will be especially useful when you are hiring a support worker over the weekend (or public holiday) as the price guide rates are much higher over these periods.
It's more FLEXIBLE
You can hire someone you already know (not family members) or someone who lives nearby. The hours you need could vary and many agencies will have support worker minimum service times.
Here are some examples of where MyCareSpace members have hired their own support workers who have their own ABN:
- Sue is able to hire her next-door neighbour, who is a good friend, to look after her son for just a couple of hours every afternoon between him finishing school and her getting home from work.
They don't need any disability certification if this is not important to you. Her son knows her neighbour well, and because they are next door, there is no travel issue for the short period she needs them. They are also flexible and she can call them up to stay on if she's running late.
- Tony hires the coaching assistant from their inclusive football club to take his son to footie matches on the weekends.
- Amy needs help in the morning to get showered and dressed. She pays her friend, who lives just down the road, to pop over for an hour in the early mornings to help her.
How to get started when hiring your own Support Worker with an ABN
Before you can hire someone, identify what your needs are. You will need to do this regardless of whether you already have someone in mind or will need to find someone.
To start, you will need to think about (and document) the following:
1. The areas of your life where you want the help of a support worker.
Make a list of where you need help with:
- Personal care
- Health needs (going to medical appointments etc)
- Accessing the community - getting out an about, going shopping etc
- Daily living requirements like help with cooking, cleaning etc
- Everyday tasks like sending emails.
It may be helpful to write a daily plan of what you do (or want to do) every day and work off that.
It will take some time to get this together and you are probably going to have a few versions before you have it ready.
See this Sample Duty Statement from MyPlace (WA) which is part of their resource on engaging support workers (referenced below in its entirety). It will help you identify the duties you may need a support worker to perform.
2. What is your support budget?
This will influence how many hours of support you can pay for. Your NDIS funding for support workers falls under CORE - Assistance with Daily Life in your NDIS plan.
Look at your total funding for support workers for the year and divide it by 52. Now you have a weekly budget.
According to the NDIS Support Catalogue, the weekly hourly rate is around the $50-ish, the Saturday hourly rate around $72-ish and the Sunday hourly rate around $95.
If you can negotiate better rates than that, you are going to be able to stretch your funds.
3. What kind of support worker would you like?
It's helpful listing the type of qualities you would like in a support worker. For example punctuality, flexibility, discretion, physical strength, patience etc. Perhaps you might prefer a support worker that shares your interest or has skills you'd like to learn.
4. Get help
MyPlace WA has created a comprehensive resource on the process of finding and hiring a support worker and also documenting what you need from them beforehand. It covers:
- Planning your support needs, documenting your needs and your budget
- Duty statements (what must they do), employment adverts and application forms
- What kind of support worker you want, employee interviews and picking the right workers
- Work safety, worker management and termination
5. Finding Support Workers
You might already have someone in mind and that's the reason you are travelling down this path. Alternatively, you can put ads out on NDIS Facebook groups or other online platforms or even just use word of mouth.
Here is a Sample Application Form from MyPlace (WA) which is part of their resource on engaging support workers (referenced below in its entirety).
How to make sure your support worker is a contractor and not an employee
For every worker that you engage personally, you need to look at the specific working arrangement to determine whether that person is an employee or a contractor.
Why does this matter?
Because your legal, financial and tax obligations are different if your worker is an employee or a contractor.
A contractor (independent support worker) can typically:
- decide how the work will be done
- agree to the hours that make up the job
- be engaged for a specific task or time
- have their own insurance
- use their own tools and equipment
- pay their own tax and GST
- have an ABN and submits invoices
- don’t receive paid leave
Source: Dept of Fair Trading
There won’t be one thing on its own that decides whether a support worker is an employee or an independent contractor. You need to consider all of these factors making sure your support worker is an independent contractor.
The ATO website has a great tool that asks you a series of questions to determine whether you are engaging a worker as an employee or contractor for tax and superannuation purposes.
What do I need so that I can hire my own support worker?
1. They need an ABN and Insurance
An independent contractor is a person who has an Australian Business Number (ABN) and is generally responsible for managing their own insurance, tax and superannuation.
If you are self-managing and want to hire a support worker directly as a contractor, you need to make sure they have:
- an ABN
- appropriate insurance - MyCareSpace has been working with insurers to provide insurances to disability support workers.
Find out more here.
If a support worker is driving your car, you will need to make sure you have them listed as a nominated driver on your comprehensive motor vehicle insurance policy.
2. They need to invoice you
Support workers who are contractors can charge per hour at a rate agreed upon by you. They will need to invoice you for their support hours.
An invoice should include:
- Description of service
- Number of hours at an agreed rate
- Total cost
3. What about a Police Check and Working with Children Check
As a matter of course you should get both of these before hiring a support worker (especially for a child) - even if you think you know them well.
How can my support worker apply for an ABN?
The ATO website has a quick and easy application process.
TIP: have your tax file number handy for quicker application as the ATO can identify you from that easily.