Talking to your employer about your caring role is not always an easy step and you might feel it depends on whether your employer is likely to be supportive. At Gateshead Carers we can help to support you in discussions with your employer by offering an advocacy service and providing your employer with information ensuring that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities to you as a Working Carer.
We know it can be difficult for Working Carers to access support whilst at work so we offer advice to carers via email and telephone. If this is not convenient for you, a member of our Carer Wellbeing team can arrange to meet you at a time and place that suits your needs, making it easier for you to access support when you need it.
Know Your Rights at Work
Did you know that you might have the right to take some time off work, request a change in working hours or get some financial help to enable you to combine work and caring? As a Carer you have legal rights under the following legislation.
The Work and Families Act 2006 – This Act gives employees, who have worked for an employer for at least 26 weeks and who are the carer for an adult, the right to request flexible working.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 as amended by the Employment Relations Act 1999 – Gives an employee the right to take “reasonable” time off to deal with unexpected situations involving a dependant.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – This law relating to discrimination against disabled people should also apply to their parents and carers (European Court of Justice ruling in the Coleman Case).
Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 – Placed a duty on local authorities making a Carer’s Assessment, to consider whether or not a carer.
Know Where You Stand
As a Working Carer you are likely to need different levels of support at different times of the day, it may help if your employer is aware of your caring role. Read the following points to know where you stand with your employer before making any decisions.
Rights – Colleagues can be very supportive and it may help simply to discuss your situation with someone you can trust at work. You might even find that other colleagues are also carers, and that together you are more able to talk to your employer about ways in which you could be supported.
Time off for dependents – All employees have the right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with emergencies involving someone who depends on them and to make any necessary arrangements.
Parental Leave – You will qualify for this if you have worked for your employer for at least one year and you have legal parental responsibility for a child under five, or a disabled child under 18. You can take up to 13 weeks’ leave for each child or 18 weeks for a disabled child. A maximum of four weeks can be taken in one year for each qualifying child. Parental leave is unpaid unless your contract says otherwise, but if you are on a low income you might get Income Support, always check your employment contract or staff handbook for your employer’s own parental leave scheme, or ask for support from Gateshead Carers Association. They may have extended parental leave to include other workers, for example foster carers, grandparents or employees who have worked there less than a year.
Carers’ Assessment – If you need help in your caring role you can ask your local council for a carer’s assessment. This is to find out your needs – for example, what help you might need to be able to work. You’ll get the chance to discuss issues such as:
- is your caring role affecting your health?
- do you get enough sleep?
- are you worried you may have to give up work?
- do you get enough time to yourself?
Flexible Working – Some employees have a legal right to request a flexible work pattern. This right applies if you or your partner have or expect to have responsibility for a child under 17, a disabled child under 18 or a disabled adult, and you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks. The right to request flexible working covers the hours an employee works, the times they are required to work and the place of work, such as home or workplace. Employers have to consider such requests seriously and can only refuse for certain business reasons.
Benefits – If you’re in work, you may be entitled to certain benefits to supplement your wages. These include Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. Contact our Advice Service to find out if you qualify for any of these benefits.
Download our Working Carer guide
We have produced a Working Carer Guide to help carers understand what rights they have whilst working and caring. Although this is a useful resource we reccommend every carer get in touch so that we can see how best to support their individual needs.
Download our Working Carer A5 Guide
Get in touch…
For further information about your rights as a Carer to discuss any other Carer related issues, please get in touch with our Carer Wellbeing Team. We understand it can be difficult to speak to us in person due to time constraints and hectic lifestyles, so we offer direct support via email and telephone.
If you are working and caring for someone don’t wait until you reach a crisis point in your life, get in touch with us today to see how we can help you… Call 0191 4900121 or contact us here.