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Who cares for the carers?

1 June 2018

Carers.org, states “There are around seven million carers in the UK – that is one in ten people.

This is rising. Three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives in the UK. Out of the UK's carers, 42% of carers are men and 58% are women” (2018). They claim that the number of carers will increase by 3.4 million (around 60%) by 2030. That’s a huge percentage of workers that need to have their rights protected at work. One in eight workers are carers. One in five carers give up work to care. This article will give information about caring for adults whilst working and the support available.

One in eight carers are working. If you are caring for an adult and working you are entitled to help and support. There are resources available to you. The law offers “statutory rights” which are available to everyone. Your employer may also have “contractual rights” and in some cases this can be over and above your statutory rights. As a carer you are not obliged to tell anyone at work, however, this may be useful as your employer may have procedures and policies in place that can help you balance your work and caring responsibilities. Talk to your TSSA representative and they can keep a record for you. Once it’s on record it will help to protect you from discrimination. Here’s what’s available.

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s allowance is £64.40 per week (April 2018/18), paid four weekly. You could claim this if you earn less than £120 per week after deductions, spend at least 35 hours looking after someone who is disabled (you don’t have to live with them or need to be a relative), or you care for someone who has the higher or middle rate of Disability Living Allowance, Attendance allowance or Personal Independence Payment daily living component. It won’t matter if you have savings you still may be entitled. To make a claim call the Call the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0800 731 297 (textphone: 0800 731 0317) or visit GOV.UK for an online claim.

Assessments from the local council/trust

Contact your local council as they can carry out a needs assessment. This could mean additional care, a place in a day care centre, technology and equipment to help with mobility and safety or meals delivered to their home. There are different levels of service which could be invaluable to you and the person you care for. The cost would be dependant on the income and capital of the person who needs the care.

Flexible Working

Once you have worked for your employer for more than 26 weeks you can request flexible working. For example: homeworking, part time, flexi time, annualised, compressed hours etc. Requests must be made in writing detailing exactly what you need and how it will affect the business. They can refuse, however, there would need to be a sound business reason.

Emergency Carers Leave

Employees have the statutory right to take a “reasonable” amount of time off in emergencies for dependants. The statutory rights are on an unpaid basis. However, some employers may have a contractual policy in place that offers a certain amount of time as paid. Get a copy of the policy to see what your company offers, it should be readily available.

Protection from discrimination

In England, Scotland and Wales you are protected by the Equality Act 2010 and in Northern Ireland it’s the Human Rights Act and Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act. These acts promote equality and opportunity for carers to ensure that they are not treated unfairly due to their caring responsibilities.

As you can see there are many different resources available to make life caring a little easier. At TSSA we have the tools and support to help you if you are having issues around work and caring for someone. We understand how difficult it is to juggle work and caring and not having time for yourself. We want to help you find that balance and look after your own health and well being at the same time. If you are caring and working and would like some advice, please talk to your TSSA representative or call our helpdesk on 0800 328 267.

May 2018

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