On this page you will find information about carer’s rights, benefits, information for working carers and businesses.
All employees who have worked for their employer for more than 26 weeks have the right to make one application per year for flexible working.
For further information about this visit https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working
Working carers have the right to Time off to deal with an emergency related to the person they care for. For more information on this and when it applies visit https://www.gov.uk/time-off-for-dependants
If you are a Parent Carer of a child under 18 you may be entitled to take unpaid parental leave to look after your child’s welfare:
For more information, and to see if you are eligible go to https://www.gov.uk/parental-leave
If you are looking after someone who is elderly or disabled, the law - under the Equality Act 2010 - will protect you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities. This is because you are counted as being 'associated' with someone who is protected by the law because of their age or disability.
You can find out more about this on the Carers UK website at https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/work-and-career/other-rights-at-work/discrimination-under-the-equality-act-2010
Financial difficulties can be an added pressure to your situation. Knowing what you are entitled to, can make a difference to your life as well as the person you care for. There are benefits just for carers, some for people with a disability, and some to help you if you have a low income. Remember, you can still claim some benefits if you work, have savings or own your own home.
For more information about the benefits you could be entitled to have a look at the information on our Benefit Help page.
At any one time, 1 in 7 people who work will be caring for someone.
Working and caring can be a balancing act for many carers and as a result 1 in 5 carers give up work to care full time. This is a growing concern as the number of carers in the UK is set to grow from 6 million to 9 million in the next 30 years. Businesses often lose experienced staff as most carers fall into the 50-64 age bracket at the peak of their careers.
Being a carer can be like having another job on top of their paid role and there are often a wide range of challenges:
Getting support outside the work place
At some point you may need to consider getting practical help to support you in your caring role. There are a number of options, which include:
Most of these options will have to be paid for and the amount you will need to pay may be determined by your income or that of the person you care for.
You and your employer
Remember, it is up to you whether you tell your employer about your situation.
Before you speak to your employer, find out about their policy for supporting carers. You could do this by checking your staff handbook, intranet or speaking to your manager or Human Resources (HR) department.
There are a number of useful websites which may be helpful if you want to learn more about working and caring. These resources can be found at the bottom of the page.
Ways your employer can help
As well as your statutory right to take time off in an emergency, your employer may allow you extra time off, either paid or unpaid. This is sometimes referred to as ‘special leave’ or ‘compassionate leave’. There is no statutory entitlement to this leave, but you may have a right to it under your employment contract or it may be something that your employer agrees to on an ‘ad hoc’ basis. Although it is not law, some employers may be able to offer a Career break – for more info see https://www.gov.uk/career-breaks
Information for Business
At West Cumbria Carers we want to provide support to working carers and businesses. We understand that businesses rely on the strength of their workforce and providing information and a point of contact can support businesses in their success.
If you are a business owner, work within the HR department of your organisation or a line manager and you would like to know how you can support your staff and colleagues with their caring needs please get in touch.
The impact on an organisation can be much better managed and controlled if carers have information about what support and services are available to them in the workplace.
Are your policies and procedures carer friendly?
Having a document explaining the process and support the company can provide can be useful for working carers as well as supervisors and managers.
Often, there are small, inexpensive things that employers can do to help:
A good place to start would be asking your employees, through staff meetings, surveys and focus groups, what would help them if they were/are in a caring role.
Citizens Advice https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/
ACAS provide information and advice on employment and conciliation services for employers and employees to prevent or resolve workplace problems - http://www.acas.org.uk/
The Acas helpline number is 0300 123 1100. It is available Monday to Friday 8am-6pm.
Carers UK for carers https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/work-and-career
Support for Employers - https://www.carersuk.org/for-professionals/employers-for-carers