Skills for Care

Getting off to a good start with your employer is very important. A way to do this is through a probationary period and thorough induction, which can be useful to establish that the employment is working well for both the personal assistant and their employer. During this period, a personal assistant can expect to receive details of their employment contract and a thorough induction from their employer.

To help with the early stages of an employment, on this page we’ve compiled guidance and advice to cover starting work as a personal assistant.  

Probationary period  

This is a two-way trial period that gives both the personal assistant and the employer a chance to get to know each other, and to make sure that they're suited to the job without committing yourself completely.  

The employer should set the probationary period, for example three months, and may want to meet with their personal assistant during that time so you can both talk about what’s working well or not going so well. They may also use this an opportunity to talk about any training that their personal assistant might need.  



An Induction is an introduction to everything a personal assistant will be doing and the environment in which you’ll be working. It will usually be carried out by the employer and may involve the opportunity to shadow more experienced personal assistants. It’s about getting to know each other and developing your working relationship. An induction will help a personal assistant settle into your role quickly and can also be the start of your ongoing learning and development. 

An induction should take place within the first few days and weeks of the personal assistant starting their new job. If the employer doesn’t do an induction, a personal assistant should ask for one. 

Skills for Care’s ‘Employing personal assistants’ toolkit provides information about induction for the employer

Your induction may include discussions around:

  • outline of responsibilities and a walk around the place of work.  

  • outline of how your employer would prefer to be supported.  

  • working hours, probation period, holidays, sick pay, maternity and parental leave and responsibilities as well as absent and incident processes.  

  • professional and personal boundaries. If you’re working as part of a team, an introduction to the other personal assistants.  

  • The house rules, for example, accepting personal calls whilst at work, smoking in the house, using tea and coffee in agreed breaks.  

  • Identifying any specific areas for training, for example, first aid  


The Care Certificate

The Care Certificate is designed for staff who are new to their role. It’s an identified set of standards that social care and health workers adhere to in their daily working lives. The employer may use the standards to structure your induction. If the personal assistant successfully complete all the standards, they may be awarded The Care Certificate.  

Find out more about the Care Certificate  


Employment contract

Employment conditions, rights, responsibilities, duties  

The employer should provide you with an employment contract. An employment contract is an agreement between you and your employer, and sets out your employment conditions, rights, responsibilities, duties and things like holidays, notice period, how to deal with a grievance, disciplinary procedures and sick pay.  

If the employer doesn’t provide a personal assistant with a contract, the personal assistant should ask for one. Skills for Care’s ‘Employing personal assistants’ toolkit shows personal assistants the information that their employer should provide. The contract can be a useful tool for sorting out any disagreements or disputes, as it’s a record of what both have agreed and can be used to clear up any misunderstandings.