Your Rights as a Carer when Working
Your rights in work come from two sources:
- The law gives you ‘statutory rights’ which everyone has
- Your contract of employment gives you ‘contractual rights’ which can be more generous than statutory rights
The right to request flexible working
All employees have a right to request flexible working after they have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks (six months), as long as they haven’t already made a flexible working request within the last 12 months.
Flexible working requests should be made in writing and should include:
- Details of the revised working pattern you are seeking
- How you think this may affect your employer’s business
- How you think this can be dealt with
Only one request is allowed in a year.
Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request.
Examples of flexible working include:
- Home working
- Part-time working
- Term-time working
- Working compressed hours
- Working staggered hours
- Working annualised hours
- Shift working
- Job sharing
The right to time off in emergencies
All employees have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to deal with an emergency or an unforeseen matter involving a dependant. This may be your partner, child or parent, or someone living with you as part of your family – others who rely on you for help in an emergency may also qualify. The time off is unpaid unless your employer is willing to give paid time off as a contractual right.
Examples of emergency situations include:
- A disruption or breakdown in care arrangements
- The death of a dependant
- If a dependant falls ill or is in an accident
- To make longer-term arrangements for a dependant who is ill or injured (but not to provide long-term care yourself)
- An incident involving a child during school hours
Protection from discrimination
In England, Wales and Scotland, if you are looking after someone who is elderly or disabled, the law – under the Equality Act 2010 – will protect you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities.
The right to parental leave
If you have worked for the same employer for 12 months and you are responsible for a child aged under 18, you are entitled to 18 weeks’ leave per child, which must be taken by the child’s 18th birthday. This time off is unpaid unless your employer is willing to give paid time off as a contractual right.
Take a look at the resources available below from Carers UK to guide you in more detail on your rights in work.