Your rights at work
Juggling work and caring commitments can be a difficult balancing act. Working carers often feel stressed by multiple demands on their time, and this can take a toll on your health, wellbeing and relationships. It's therefore important to know what your rights are if you are working and caring.
Telling your employer
It’s your decision whether or not to tell your employer that you are a carer. Some people find it helpful as their employer may be more understanding about your situation. Your employer may also have additional policies which go above and beyond the legal requirements, so may be worthwhile finding out if your employer has carer friendly policies. Carers UK leads a forum for employers who want to be more carer friendly called Employers for Carers.
If you have been in your current job for 26 continuous weeks or more (with a few exceptions, such as if you are an agency worker), you have the right to ask for flexible working. This is different to the right to receiving flexible working. For further information about how to make a flexible working request, visit Carers UK.
Time off for dependants
If you care for someone and you need to take time off to deal with an emergency, you may be able to use the right to time off for dependants. The time off you take will need to be reasonable in the circumstances and does not have to be paid. For more information about the right to time off for dependants, visit Working Families.
Carers sometimes feel that they need to give up work to meet their caring responsibilities. Leaving work is a big decision and you will need to think about the financial implications, including the effect on your income and any potential impact on your pension. You may also need to consider non-financial factors too, such as the effect on your own wellbeing and confidence.
If you don’t want to give up work but feel unable to cope with your work and caring responsibilities, there may be ways round the issue. You may wish to use flexible working, take a career break or paid/unpaid leave or ask for additional help with caring from social services. You could talk to your employer about your situation and see if there are any other options you haven’t considered. Contact us for more information about your options.
If you do leave work and your income changes, you may need to look at financial support. Visit our money and benefits page for more information.
Going back to work
If you have left work due to caring responsibilities, there may come a time when you wish or are able to return to employment. Carers UK has more information about your options in this situation.
ACAS has online information on employment rights and responsibilities, a helpline and an early resolution service before employment cases reach tribunal. Their helpline (0300 123 1100) is open Monday to Friday, 8am - 8pm and Saturday 9am - 1pm
Carers UK has information on their website on rights at work as a carer.
Working Families has a dedicated helpline for people caring for a disabled child or adult - call on 020 7017 0072 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They also have information on their website.
Employment law can be complex, so contact an employment adviser for advice regarding your situation. For more information and support, give us a call on 020 8649 9339, option 1 or email email@example.com.