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Working whilst caring - Your rights at work

Many carers work either full or part time whilst providing a caring role. If your employer is unaware of your caring role, then they will be unable to put systems in place to help you. This includes flexible working and time off in emergencies. You may feel that you do not want to talk to your employer/manager about your caring role, however if you do, they may be able and willing to provide you with support.

Flexible working

Any employee with over 26 weeks’ service has the right to request flexible working. Flexible working could involve reducing your hours, changing start or finish times, compressing your hours into fewer days, or home working. 

You can make one request per year and this must be in writing, so it’s worth thinking carefully about what adjustments you need, and putting a strong case for why flexible working will not adversely affect the organisation/ business.

You only have the right to request flexible working, not the right to be given flexible work. Your employer can refuse your request if there are specific business reasons for doing so (e.g. it would cost the business more). They should not discriminate against you as a carer when considering your request.

Time off in Emergencies

Employees have the right to take “reasonable” time off to care for dependants (including immediate family or someone relying on you as a carer), in the event of an emergency.  An emergency might be an accident at home or breakdown in care arrangements. While some employers give some paid dependants’ leave, employers aren’t legally required to pay dependants leave.

Protection against Discrimination

As a carer for an older person or someone with a disability, you have protection from discrimination “by association” under the Equality Act 2010. Discrimination “by association” would be if an employer treated you less favourably because of your caring role – such as withholding a pay rise given to other employees but not you.

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