Caring for someone while working
You may be working when you start your caring role. It's important you tell your employer about your situation.
Talking to your employer
Caring for a relative with disabilities is often unpredictable and care arrangements can be complex, so you will need to talk to your employer about your concerns and commitments.
If you want to work, it is in your employer's best interest to consider making reasonable changes to your work pattern to help you work and continue caring. Many employers offer help to carers in a variety of ways.
Think about how your employer could best help you and talk to them about your needs. You and your employer might want to consider the following ideas.
There are many different ways of working flexibly. You could work from home or have flexible starting or finishing times. Other working arrangements might be:
- compressed working hours (where you work your normal number of hours in a short time - typically fitting five days working time into four days)
- term-time or annualised working hours (the amount of hours you are contracted for per month or year are worked in a flexible way)
- job-sharing or part-time working
- flexible holidays to fit in with alternative care arrangements
Support at work
When you discuss your caring role and responsibilities with your manager they should give you support.
You may also:
- be able to talk to a welfare officer or occupational health adviser who knows about carers
- get in-house information and advice, counselling or attend support/networking groups
- receive a subscription to carers' organisations, or employee services
Special leave arrangements and time off in emergencies
Most carers know they can get emergency leave (whether paid or unpaid), but there are other leave arrangements that your employer might be able to offer. These include:
- carers' leave (paid/unpaid)
- compassionate leave
- borrowing/buying leave
- career breaks
You are entitled to take a reasonable amount of time off if you have worked for your employer for at least a year and there is an emergency relating to the person you care for. This can include:
- if there is a breakdown in care arrangements
- if the person you care for falls ill or has an accident - this can be emotional or physical pain
- if your child is involved in an incident during school hours
- if you need to make longer term care arrangements
- if you need time off following the death of a dependant
The Employment Act (2002) gives working parents of children with disabilities under 18 the right to request flexible working arrangements. Also, you have the right to take (unpaid) time off for dependants in cases of emergency.
Since 6 April 2007, you also have the statutory right to ask your employer for flexible working if you are caring for an adult who is a relative or lives at the same address as you.
Other help from your employer
Other help from your employer could include:
- access to a telephone so that you can call the person you are caring for
- a reserved car parking space, to make getting in and out of work quicker and easier
- reasonable notice if overtime or working from home is necessary
If you need help in your caring role you can ask your local Trust for a carer's assessment. This takes into account your needs (for example, if you want to work and what help you might need) and the needs of the person you are caring for.