Rights at work
By Jane Stanfield, Associate Practitioner
The Government Carers Action Plan 2018 – 2020 highlighted the important part employers play in supporting carers. A carer who is supported to combine working and caring may be better able to maintain their own wellbeing; not just financially but socially and emotionally.
It benefits employers to be able to retain experienced employees and to develop a reputation as a carer friendly employer.
Carers have the following rights at work.
- The right to request flexible working. Some carers find they can manage the balance if they work their hours over fewer, longer days, so that they have a clear block of time for their caring. Some may need to start earlier and finish earlier. Some may need a few weeks off to make arrangements for replacement care in order to continue working. An employer must give proper consideration to requests such as these, and if they decide it is not organisationally possible to grant the request, they must explain why that is.
- The right to time off for emergencies. If your care arrangements break down suddenly or you need to deal with another emergency relating to your caring role then you have the right to take time off. This will not be paid time off unless your contract of employment includes paid carer’s leave.
- The right to protection from discrimination. You have the same rights as people with a disability have under the Equality Act and Human Rights Act, not to be discriminated against simply because you are a carer.
The Carers Leave Act will come into force in April 2024 giving the right to 5 days of unpaid carers leave. However their are no further details at this point.
There is a growing body of support for employers to help them become more carer friendly and to understand their duties towards carers. You may want to look at these links to see if it is something you can bring to your employer’s attention.
More details can be found at: