Caring for someone at home at the same time as you’re in employment can be a lot to manage. While you do not have to tell your employer, if they are aware you are caring for someone they will better understand the pressures you are facing, and might be able to support you with this.
All employees and agency workers in certain circumstances, are legally entitled to ask for a flexible working arrangement, as long as you have been working for the same employer continuously for 26 weeks.
- Flexible working can involve any of the following:
- Working more hours over fewer days, for example 8am to 6pm over four days instead of 9am to 5pm over five days
- Working from home or from a different location that’s more convenient
- Changing your hours, for instance starting earlier and finishing earlier
- Working part time or job sharing with a colleague
If you want to ask for flexible working hours you will usually have to do this in writing. You will need to include the following:
- the working pattern you are asking for and when you would like it to start
- how this might affect your employer and your colleagues, and how you think any changes might be dealt with
- why you're making the request - you don’t have to give the reason, but if you are asking for flexible working because you have caring responsibilities your employer might realise that it could be discriminatory to refuse your request
Your employer will meet with you to talk about your request. They can only refuse if they have a good business reason, and you have the right to appeal.
There is more information about asking for flexible working on the Citizens Advice website
Taking time off in an emergency
You have the right to take time off from work if you have an emergency that involves the person you are caring for. For example, you can ask for time off if:
- the person you care for becomes unwell, has an accident or dies
- your normal care arrangements are cancelled or change
- you need time off to organise care arrangements for someone who is unwell or injured
There is no set amount of time you can take as it will depend on the situation and your employer. Tell your employer as soon as you’re able to how much time you will need so it can be agreed between you.
There is more information about taking time off in an emergency on the government’s website
Some organisations have specific policies or support in place for carers, such as Employee Assistance Programmes and Hospice UK’s Compassionate Employers programme – ask your line manager or HR for information.
Financial support while you’re working and caring
A carer’s assessment can help you find out what help is available to you. You can do this by contacting adult social services at your local council and asking for a carer’s assessment. They will ask you about your circumstances to find out what sort of support you need. There is more information about this in our guide to caring for someone at home.
Turn2us is a free service that helps people access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help. Visit their website for help finding out what you are eligible for
The types of financial help you might be able to get include:
- Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. You can claim it even if you are working, however to be eligible you must be caring for someone for 35 hours a week or more.
- Carer’s Credit helps with gaps in your National Insurance record, which goes towards your state pension. You might be able to claim this if you care for someone for 20 hours a week or more.
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) might apply if you are looking after a child with a health condition or disability who is under the age of 16 years
- Universal Credit is a benefit for people on low incomes, unable to work due to illness or disability or unemployed. It is means-tested so your eligibility will be affected by how much you earn
The person you are caring for might also be able to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance to help with the costs of a long term illness.