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Carers and employment

Trying to juggle your caring role with paid employment can be challenging, so you may find the following information useful. 

Right to request flexible working

Flexible working patterns can allow employees to manage both work and their caring responsibilities. Flexible working could include flexible starting and finishing hours, compressed working hours, annualised working hours, term-time working, job sharing, part time working, home-working or tele-working.

You have the right to request flexible working if you are an employee with 26 weeks continuous employment at the date you make an application.

The law gives you the right to make one application per year for flexible working. However, your employer may be sympathetic if you find your circumstances have changed and you need to make a further application.

The request to work flexibly must be made in writing and dated and should include:

  • An outline of the working pattern you would like.
  • An explanation of the effect, if any, you think the proposed change might have on your job and, how you think this could be dealt with.
  • The date on which you would like the proposed change to start.
  • Whether you have made a previous request and, if so, the date of that request.

Your employer can only refuse your request if they have good business reasons for it. It is important to consider the needs of your company when you make your request, and to include as much information as you can about how your proposed change will help the business as well as you, or how you can deal with any possible negative effect you think your employer may be concerned about.

Your employer may have a standard form for you to use or you can use a form available from the Carers UK website [external link].

Employers for Carers

As an employer you will be all too familiar with the need to retain skilled experienced staff to remain competitive. But for the 1 in 7 in your workforce who are caring for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill, juggling paid work and caring can present real problems. How would you prioritise between the demands of a busy workload and the urgent need of the person you care for?

Given the stresses and strains that can result from balancing multiple responsibilities inside and outside the workplace, it is unsurprising that 1 in 6 carers give up work or reduce their hours to care. But many of these employees will be your most valuable staff, the 45-64 year-olds at the peak of their careers.

By recognising the needs of carers, you can hold on to your experienced staff and reap the rewards of creating a supportive working environment for carers.

For more information, visit the Employers for Carers website [external link].

In addition, SMEs in Darlington (businesses with under 250 employees) are now able to access FREE umbrella membership via Darlington Borough Council, which gives businesses and their employees full access to the EfC website, which provides information for staff to support them in their caring role and gives managers the information they need to support their staff who are carers.

Darlington Carers Support also have a Carers In Employment Coordinator who will work with you to look at how to make your business more carer friendly. For more information, contact [email protected]
Tel: 0191 9174709

Support from Job Centre Plus

If you aren’t currently working but would like to so, Jobcentre Plus can help you to get back to work. For more information about the support available to help you combine your caring role with paid employment, contact Darlington Jobcentre Plus on 0845 604 3719.