Looking after someone while working can be a lot to handle at once. You might be concerned about the person you care about while you work, and this may a negative impact on your well-being. It can be helpful to know about some of your rights at work and think about what can help you manage your caring and work responsibilities

1. The right to flexible working

Looking after someone can be exhausting and take up a lot of your time. If you also have to work, you may be entitled to request flexible working arrangements from your employer to help fulfil your responsibilities.

Flexible working can involve changing your work hours – you could start work earlier or finish later to help juggle your caring responsibilities. It could also mean to work remotely part-time or all of the time. You’re allowed to make a single request for flexible working each year. Your employer is legally obligated to consider your request, but they are allowed to refuse provided they have good business reasons. Therefore, it’s important to consider how the business will be affected, and how your manager may take it. Provide as much as information as possible about how you can continue to help the business from home, or how you can deal with any negative impacts your manager may be concerned with.

2. The right to time off in an emergency

There may be times when you can’t go in to work because of an emergency situation involving the person you’re caring for. If you’re responsible for another person, you have the right to time off in an emergency. You must inform your employer as soon as possible after the emergency has happened. These situations could include your normal care arrangements being cancelled, or if the person you care for dies or suffers an injury.

It’s also no surprise that happy employees produce better work. Employers who take active steps in taking care of their employees’ physical and mental well-being at work can help to keep staff turnover rate low. Here are a few tips:

Create a positive environment for carers

Research conducted by Carers UK show that carers really value having an understanding line manager and a supportive employer. Create a supportive environment where there is no stigma attached to carers identifying themselves. Display posters and newsletters on staff notice boards, outlining some of the carer-related benefits that they may not be aware of, such as carers allowance.

Having a carers’ support network

Identifying carers can be difficult. In fact, one in seven are responsible for supporting for their loved ones who are older, disabled or in a serious condition. Chances are you may have a few carers in your workplace, and perhaps they would feel more comfortable if they had someone to talk to about it – someone in a similar position to them.

Employers should try and provide information to carers about existing workplace carer support groups and what external support is available. Even if this isn’t exactly the type of support they want, it can still be helpful to communicate regularly via company polices or signposting posters to let them know that support is always available. It could also include contacting carers’ centres to receive personal advice on how to make the workplace a reassuring environment

Prioritise training for carers

A carer may feel that they are lacking progression at work, and perhaps forgotten about (even more so due to remote working). They may find it difficult to concentrate on their career, because they aren’t provided with the right support. Make it easy for people to understand what support is on offer for carers – provide additional training courses, seminars and subscriptions to further their learning. The people are the most valuable resource to a company and developing individuals and teams is the key to keeping people and organisations moving forward.

As always, we are here to help. If you feel you need more support with your role as a carer so that you can stay in employment, contact Harrow Carers at 020 8868 5224. We can offer you individually tailored support regarding your career, application advice, interviews, benefits you may be entitled to and much, much more…

Working for Carers are running a session on Balancing Working and Caring on Thursday 19th August – please click here for more information.

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of 24 partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Call 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208