Part time jobs & flexible working – benefits to employers

Part time jobs & flexible working – benefits to employers

Part time jobs and flexible working options are here to stay. Revolutionary progress in communication and information technology have changed the way businesses operate allowing for flexible working solutions.

Over the last decade or so, there has been a monumental shift in the way people live. With the UK’s ageing population, skyrocketing childcare costs and people’s need to have a work-life balance, employers must embrace a ‘new workforce’; one in which a large number of skilled and desirable employees are no longer able to work traditional full-time hours.

A large proportion of the UK’s labour force will have their working lives affected or interrupted by their caring responsibilities. Today, there are about seven million (that’s 1 in 10 people) carers in the UK and this number is only set to increase. These employees will seek out firms and businesses who offer family-friendly, flexible working opportunities to fit around their caring and domestic duties.

From an employer’s perspective, the ability to offer flexible solutions is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity in our changing society and a way to attract and retain the best employees.

At Working for Carers, we not only work closely with carers, getting them job-ready, but have built relationships with several local businesses and large businesses such as John Lewis, where they have been able to employ carers through part time and flexible working solutions. More importantly, they have seen the benefits of offering part-time and flexible opportunities on business productivity.

If you are an employer, especially if you are small business, you need to be able to see a positive cost-benefit of flexible working amongst your employees otherwise it won’t work for your business. We spoke to some of the employers we’ve partnered and asked them to share their thoughts on how they’ve benefitted by offering flexible working to their employees. This is what they had to say:

  • Offering flexible working, opens up a much wider pool of talent to choose from, allowing you to recruit people that really suit your requirements.
  • Increased employee morale, engagement and commitment. Employees who are not stressed about managing and balancing their other commitments demonstrate higher levels of happiness at their jobs and show greater levels of commitment and engagement. It allows employees to focus on their jobs during the hours they are committed to their jobs and then switch off to look after other responsibilities when they are off-the-clock.
  • Reduced absenteeism. This is a massive cost-saving for you as an employer. Employees who are have flexibility in their work hours schedule their ‘other’ commitments around their work commitments as they are given the time to do so. This greatly reduces employees not turning up to work.
  • With flexible working options, many of the employers have noticed a sharp decrease in staff turnover, reducing recruiting and training costs at regular intervals. Employees who feel they are being looked after and are able to both work and manage their caring or other duties, are unlikely to leave the company.
  • Companies that offer job share options or remote working are often able to cut overheads through desk sharing or working from home. We’ve worked with employers who have saved costs on opting for a smaller office space as some of their employees do a job share, requiring only one desk and one computer for those roles, yet gaining the skills of two people per job.
  • As an employer, you will be able to offer extended service hours, reducing the need for overtime with employees working at different times in the day.
  • Working hours can be matched with peaks and troughs of business to maximise productivity.
  • One of the key benefits, employers have stated is the improvement in diversity in workforce. Part time or flexible working allows for a broader mix of skills, knowledge and experience giving you, as an employer, the opportunity to be more creative in your recruitment approach.
  • It will make your company more attractive to potential employees giving you the pick of the best talent.

As an employer, whilst it’s important, almost mandatory today to offer flexible working options, you must have a clear, coordinated and widely understood process in place for it work. Working practises, schedules, timesheets and expectations must be outlined and set in place at the start of a contract and communicated with managers and employees alike. The larger the organisation, the more complicated it is and it would be good practices to have a dedicated HR staff member project managing it. If you are a small business, whilst not as complicated, you would still need someone coordinating and managing the process.

The bottom line is that if you are an employer, a well-planned and efficiently implemented flexible working system for your employees, will have not only a positive impact on your employees, but on your business’ productivity and output as well.


How to find a part-time job

How to find a part-time job

Most of the carers we work with are full-time carers; caring for their loved ones in lieu of a job or career. There are also many carers, who whilst fulfilling their caring role are able to take on a part-time job and earn an income.  For many carers, being able to work is way to continue being part of the work force, maintain and update their skills and feel a sense of personal fulfilment.

Finding a part-time job is challenging in that they are not as readily available as full time jobs, however more employers are now offering flexible and part-time options than ever before.

We thought we’d share some top tips on how to go about finding a part-time job.

  1. Reach out to your employer (current or former)

If you are currently employed full-time and need to move to part –time hours, reach out to your employer and discuss your needs with him or her, being as frank and open as you can. Most companies today are understanding of personal circumstance changes and are happy to consider reduced hours of work to fit around these circumstances. If you are not currently employed, contact your former employer and check if they are able to offer you a part-time role. This should be your first port of call. Your former employer knows you and knows the kind of work you are capable of.

  1. Think about your schedule

You need to know exactly how many and what hours you can work. Be upfront with potential employers about your availability. Is your schedule flexible enough for shift work or do you need specific hours every day/week? If you can do shift work, express your flexibility as you will be required to work a variety of hours.

  1. Treat the process like a full-time job search

Looking for a part-time job takes as much time as looking for a full-time job and in fact, maybe more time-consuming as part-time jobs are harder to find. Commit to the process and leave no stone unturned. Upload your CV on all the relevant job boards, visit your local high street recruitment firms and spread the word amongst friends and acquaintances that you are looking for a part-time role. You never know – someone might know someone who has a job going.

  1. Target industries that are known to offer part-time jobs

There are some industries that are more able to offer part-time roles than others. Apply for jobs to companies within these industries; industries such as retail, delivery, customer service, hospitality, education, charities and healthcare.

  1. Beef up your CV 

Make sure your CV is up to date and clearly demonstrate the kind of work you have done and how you have used your skills. Express your skill level clearly and be sure to put everything down. You may think a specific skill is not relevant but a potential employer might think it isJ

  1. Consider temporary work

Don’t rule out temporary work. If you can get a part-time role that’s temporary, take it. If you prove yourself and the employers are happy with you, chances are that they might make the job permanent.

  1. Think about volunteering

Whilst looking for a part-time job, if you can, volunteer at your local charity shop or any other organisation. Often, these volunteer roles can become paid jobs. Charities are known to offer part-time roles.

  1. Take the interview seriously (link to interview workshop)

If you get an interview for a job, make sure you present your best self. This is usually the last step to being offered the job. Here are some quick tips for an interview:

  • Research the company before-hand so you know exactly what they do
  • Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions
  • Dress appropriately
  • Be on time
  • Be honest
  1. And finally – have patience.

Finding something that fits in with your schedule and needs, takes time and perseverance. The process can be frustrating and sometimes demoralising if you get several rejections. But pushing ahead and keeping at it will eventually get you there.

We have worked with several carers and have helped them find flexible part-time jobs to fit around their caring duties. Please give us a call on 0208 868 5224 to find out how we can help you find a role that works for you.

Support for Carers – Carers Assessments

Support for Carers – Carers Assessments

Like nurses and teachers, carers are one of the unsung heroes in the UK.  You are a carer if you care for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without your support.

What many of us don’t realise is that you, as a carer, also need support; emotionally, financially and practically. The level of support needed will differ based on your personal circumstances, but, we have seen that almost all carers need some amount of support.

This is where Carer Assessments come in handy.

Carer Assessments are an opportunity to discuss with the local council what support or services you need. The assessment will look at how caring affects your life, including for example, physical, mental and emotional needs, and whether you are able or willing to carry on caring. 

Who can have an assessment?

If you are a carer you are entitled to an assessment to determine the level of support you need, regardless of f the amount or type of care you provide, your financial means or your level of need for support.

These assessments are carried out by your local council adult social services and can be done even before you take on caring duties. Please visit your local council either in person or via their website to ask for an assessment. You should be able to find the information in Health and Social care section of your council’s website. Alternatively, please visit your local care centre(link to Harrow Carers) and they can point you in the right direction.

You can even be assessed as a carer if the person you are looking after has had a needs assessment or if the local council have decided that they are not eligible for support. Often a needs assessment of you and the person you are looking after can be done at the same time. Please discuss this with your local council. If more than one person is caring for a person, even if that person is a young carer under the age of 18, each carer is entitled to their own assessment.

How is the assessment done?

Assessments can be done over the phone or online. Your local council may carry out a supported self-assessment. This could involve you filling in a self- assessment questionnaire, and then being contacted by the local council to discuss what you have written on the form.

Many councils prefer to conduct assessments in person and this is usually done at your home or at the council office.

Your assessment should cover:

  • your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
  • your health – physical, mental and emotional issues
  • your feelings and choices about caring
  • work, study, training, leisure
  • relationships, social activities and your goals
  • housing
  • planning for emergencies (such as a Carer Emergency Scheme) – the local council should be able to tell you more about what they can do to help you plan for an emergency

The aim of the assessments is to help you get the support you need. Be as open and honest as you can and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to share your thoughts and feelings with the support worker.

What happens next?

Once your assessment is complete, to be able to receive services and/or direct payments from the local council, you will need to meet the national eligibility criteria and therefore have what the law calls ‘eligible needs’.

You will meet the eligibility criteria if your well-being is affected by your caring duties.

There are three questions that the local council will need to consider when making their decision.

  • Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
  • Does your caring role have an effect on you?
  • Is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on your wellbeing?

If the answer to all three questions is yes, then you will have eligible needs.

If you don’t have eligible needs…

If the local council decides that you do not have eligible needs, then will receive a written explanation for this assessment.

You should also be given advice and information about what could be done to prevent or reduce your needs either now or in the future, based on your specific circumstances.

If you do have eligible needs…

If the local council decides that you do have eligible needs, then providing you want them to, they have a legal obligation to meet these needs and must draw up a support plan detailing how these needs will be met.

It may be agreed that the best way to help you as a carer is by providing services directly to you, by providing services to the person you are looking after, or a combination of both.

The local council can provide services themselves, or arrange services through another organisation. Alternatively, you or the person you are looking after can request direct payments, which are payments which enable you to buy services to meet your eligible needs. For more information you can view the direct payments section of our website.

The local council may or may not charge you for carers support, most councils do not. If they do, they must carry out a financial assessment to work out whether you must contribute and if so, how much. If the help you are offered is free, the local council do not have to carry out a financial assessment.

Note: If the local council do charge for carers support and the outcome of your financial assessment is that you will have to pay the full charge, then the local council only must meet your needs and draw up a support plan if you ask them too. The local council can then issue an additional charge for this.

The support plan must include:

  • details of the needs identified in the assessment
  • which needs meet the eligibility criteria
  • which needs the local council is going to meet, and how
  • the outcomes that you want to achieve
  • information about the personal budget available (the amount of money that the local council has worked out it will cost to arrange the necessary support for you)
  • information about direct payments
  • information and advice to support you in your role as a carer and address your needs

Some examples of the kind of help that could be available directly to you as a carer include:

  • help with transport costs, such as taxi fares or driving lessons
  • costs for a car where transport was crucial, such as repairs and insurance
  • technology to support you, such as a mobile phone, computer where it is not possible to access computer services elsewhere
  • help with housework or gardening
  • help to relieve stress, improve health and promote wellbeing such as a gym membership

Some examples of the kind of help that could be available to the person you are looking after, to help you as a carer include:

  • changes to their home to make it more suitable
  • equipment such as a hoist or grab rail
  • a care worker to help provide personal care at home
  • a temporary stay in residential care/respite care
  • meals delivered to their home
  • a place at a day centre
  • assistance with travel, for example to get to a day centre
  • laundry services
  • replacement care so you can have a break


The aim of this article is to give you an overview of the kind of support available to you, as a carer. To obtain an assessment of what you are and are not eligible to receive, please contact your local council or your local carer centre.

Your local carer centre will be able to point you in the right direction and will guide you step-by-step on how you can be assessed and how you can access the support you need.

At Working for Carers, our aim is to help carers, like you, find flexible or part-time employment that works around your caring duties.  Caring for carers and looking after your needs is our purpose of existence. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on 0208 868 5224  to find out how we can help you.

Financial Support for Carers – Grants

Financial Support for Carers – Grants

As a country, we are slowly coming around to recognising the invaluable contribution made by the thousands of unpaid carers across the UK. Several organisations, charities and projects such as Carers Trust and their network partners, Working for Carers and others have emerged in the last 2 decades to provide support to carers up and down the country.

In addition to emotional and practical support, there are now several grants for carers that are available for both carers and those that they care for to provide the much-needed financial support.

They are awarded for different reasons including:

  • replacing essential white goods
  • helping with disability equipment or day to day living costs that cannot be met by government benefits
  • home repairs and moving home
  • help with the cost of a holiday

Each grant will have its own award criteria, and often they will want to ensure that you have applied for any government schemes and/or claimed all the statutory benefits that are available to you first, and that you have a low income and no or low savings available to you. (source; CarersUK)

Grants for carers are usually administered by charities or trusts. The best way to find out if you are eligible for a grant is to visit your local carer centre. There are numerous grants available and your eligibility will depend on your personal circumstances. A counsellor at your local carer centrewill talk to you to understand your situation and needs and will advise you on the grant options available to you.

Here are some suggestions when you are looking for a grant:

  1. Local grants

Several local charities and trusts help people within certain geographical locations. Your local carer centre will know about these.

  1. Carers Trust Grant

Carers Trust currently has a grant fund open for individual adult carers, aged 16+. Carers may be able to apply for grants of up to £300 for items or activities that will benefit them in their caring role, for example for:

Breaks for carers, with or without the person they care for.

Items for the home including cookers, fridges, beds and washing machines.

Courses and materials to develop carers’ skills and personal development.

Home repairs.

Short-term or time limited replacement care.

To see whether you can apply for a grant, contact your local carer service so they can advise you.

Carers Trust also have a comprehensive Fund Guidewith details of charities and funds that carers can contact regarding financial support for themselves and the people they care for.

  1. Turn2us Charity

Turn2us is a national charity that helps those in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help. You can search for grantsthat you might be eligible for on their website.  They also have a free ‘grants checker’ helpline (0808 802 2000) that you can call and who will then run a grants search for you. ‘

  1. Elizabeth Finn Fund

Turn 2 Us also has its own occupational charity within it called the Elizabeth Finn Fund.

The Elizabeth Finn Fund gives direct grants and support to people living in financial difficulty who have a professional background and meet their grant-giving criteria.

Grants are given to people who hold or have formerly held occupations requiring a certain level of responsibility and education, or whose partners have done so. Grants are awarded to people from over 120 different professions whose work history includes employment in a role which requires a degree; NVQ level 4 or above; or equivalent.

  1. Charities that focus on specific illnesses or disabilities

If you are caring for someone with a specific illness like cancer or multiple sclerosis for example, charities that support those conditions often offer grants. For example, the Multiple Sclerosis Society can sometimes award grants for disability equipment, short breaks and support for families.

Contact the specific charity or your local care centre who will be able to guide and advise you on whether you are eligible for specific grants.

  1. Family Occupation

If someone in your family is in the Armed Forces or has worked in a certain sector like nursing (including healthcare assistants), the civil service or the education sector, there are many different charities that were specifically set up to aid the families of people within a whole range of professions. Again, your local carer centre should point you in the right direction.

We’ve barely scratched the surface with this list, but we hope that the resources mentioned above are helpful in getting you to the right people who can assist you to access grants and funding that you may be eligible for.

The first step, we believe is to contact your local care centre. Trained counsellors and advisors, based at these centres will provide you with the support you need whether it’s emotional, professional, or financial.

We understand that sometimes, people feel embarrassed to ask for help. You have no reason to be. As a carer, you are providing an invaluable service and holding your hand through this difficult time in your life is the least we can do. Please be assured that counsellors and advisors who work at carer centres are fully trained and any discussions you have with them are strictly confidential.

If you need to pick up the phone and chat, call the carer helpline on 0208 868 5224

At Working for Carers, our aim is to provide a comprehensive carer support service for carers trying to back into employment, whether full time or part-time to fit around their caring responsibilities. So, if you are looking to get back into employment and find a job that’s possibly part-time or flexible to accommodate your carer duties and you need some help on how to go about it, we’re the people to contact.

I found a job at John Lewis thanks to the Working for Carers

I found a job at John Lewis thanks to the Working for Carers

After having struggled with confidence and language barriers, 33-year-old Mehrdad joined Working for Carers which resulted in him securing a job at John Lewis. Read our interview about his background and success story.

Please tell us a bit about your background.

I am a carer for my physically disabled wife. I had not worked in the UK before but had some work experience from Iran and Malaysia. I wanted to go back to employment as I felt I was still young and needed to do some work even though I am still a full-time carer for my disabled wife.

How hard was it to find a job?

I started to look for a part-time job as soon as I came to the United Kingdom three years ago. However, I found it difficult to find or even keep looking for a paid job because of a lack of confidence, lack of understanding of the system and the employability skills in the country.

How did you hear about the Working for Carers programme?

I found out about the programme through Ealing Carers Centre and joined on 20th June 2017.

My Employment Personal Advisor Omer Ali carried out an initial assessment to find out what my employment needs, strengths, and well-being needs were. Through the assessment, Omer decided that the best action plan for me was a combination of group workshops and one to one support.

How did the programme help?

My main barriers to work were my levels of confidence, language barriers and having to increase my job-seeking skills. However, thanks to the programme, I started to have interaction with other people. I gained new confidence to participate and communicate with everyone and talk about my situation. I am a very friendly and sociable person who likes to help others.

I also learnt the English language through social settings and attended free English classes in the college, a few hours a week.

Omer helped me with my CV, interview techniques and showed me modern job search techniques and methods. I also attended and joined the CV writing workshop and the job club.

How did it change your chances in your job search? 

Once I had increased my confidence and skills, I started applying for jobs mainly in retail and the customer service sector. After several job applications and a few unsuccessful interviews, I found a Selling and Service Partner position at a John Lewis store.

What do you think of the Working for Carers programme?

Since I joined the programme I have learnt lots of new skills with the help of my Employment Advisor and my life has changed positively for good.