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.
Leaving work due to 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, you may wish to use flexible working, take a career break or paid/unpaid leave or ask for additional help from the council. You could also 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. Gateway Employment hosts an employment advice drop-in for carers and former carers at the Carers Support Centre on fortnightly Wednesday mornings, 10.30am-12.30pm. See What's On for the latest dates.
Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund.
If you are a carer or former carer, aged 25 and over, not in paid work, you can register with Working for Carers and access:
- One-to-one sessions with an Employment Personal Adviser.
- Workshops and group sessions.
- CVs building and interview techniques.
- Employment, training and volunteering opportunities.
The service is free and delivered in Croydon by Carers Lewisham with the support for the Carers Information Service. For more information, call 020 8699 8686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. They also have information on their website.