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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Caring for someone while working

You may be working when you start your caring role. It may be helpful to tell your employer about your situation. There are several things that you and your employer can do to help you combine your caring role with employment.

Talking to your employer

Caring for a disabled relative is often unpredictable and care arrangements can be complex. You should talk to your employer about your concerns and commitments.

Think about how your employer could best help you and talk to them about your needs.

If you want to work, it is in your employer's best interest to help you work and continue caring. For example, your employer can consider making reasonable changes to your work pattern.

Many employers offer help to carers. This could include:

  • talking to a welfare officer or occupational health adviser who knows about carers
  • in-house information and advice or counselling
  • a subscription to a carers' organisation, or employee services

Flexible working arrangements

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 shorter time - typically fitting five days working time into four days)
  • working during school terms
  • job-sharing
  • part-time working
  • flexible holidays to fit in with alternative care arrangements

The right to request flexible working regulations gives working parents of disabled children under 18 the right to request flexible working arrangements from their employer. You also have the legal right to ask your employer for flexible working if you're caring for an adult who:

  • is a relative
  • lives at the same address as you

Special leave arrangements and time off in emergencies

Most carers know they can get emergency leave, but there are other leave arrangements that your employer might be able to offer. They include:

  • compassionate leave
  • borrowing or buying leave
  • career breaks

If you've legal parental responsibility for a disabled child under 18, you may take up to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave.

A right to time off in emergencies

You're entitled to take time off if you've worked for your employer for at least a year and there's a care related emergency.

Emergencies could include:

  • a breakdown in care arrangements
  • the person you care for falls ill or has an accident - this can be emotional or physical pain
  • your child is involved in an incident during school hours
  • you need to make longer term care arrangements
  • you need time off following the death of a dependant

Carer's 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.

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