Skip to navigation

Dealing with change

When there is a profound change in the condition of the person you care for, your working life may be seriously disrupted and you may recognise that you are going to have to ask for some help. You can do a number of things:

  1. Talk to your manager about some time off if you need it (you have a right to reasonable unpaid time off to deal with emergencies with dependents, or you may be able to take carers' leave, compassionate leave or annual leave at short notice – in some cases this would be unpaid).
  2. Talk to your manager about any adjustments to your working arrangements that might help deal with the current emergency (e.g. starting and finishing work early to allow time to visit the hospital). Some employers may have flexible working policies that make this more straightforward.
  3. Look at your new caring responsibilities, and look at ways you can make the situation easier. This will usually mean asking for a local authority assessment of the needs of the person you care for, and of your needs as a carer. An assessor should draw up a care plan to address these daily needs.

You are entitled to a Carer's Assessment which should take account of your needs as a working carer. The Social Worker doing the assessment should draw up a Care Plan with you covering the needs of the person you care for during the day. The Carers Equal Opportunities Act 2004 states that carers should be made aware of their rights to an assessment, and that this assessment should take into account a carer's wish to work, study or pursue leisure activities.

This may mean organising (for instance) help with personal care, a day centre place, a sitting service, all of which may make an appreciable difference to you and the person you care for. These services are chargeable (after a means assessment), although the amount you pay varies according to which local authority covers your area. In some circumstances you may need to consider the option of residential care. Visit the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) website for more information in this area.

Look for an individual or organisation that can help you. Some large employers have a confidential welfare service. Your local carers centre or project should be able to give advice and direct you to other appropriate local services. You may need someone to act as an advocate on your behalf. It may be useful just to be able to talk things through – especially if you and the person you care for have different views about the best plan for the future.

If your caring responsibilities are going to increase in the long term, at some point it may be worth talking to your manager about your job and the possibility of changing your working arrangements (for instance could you work at home on some days). Changes like this can make all the difference to your ability to continue to work and care.

Time off for dependents

In the case of an emergency involving a member of your family you have the right to unpaid time off to deal with the emergency. Visit the Department of Trade and Industry site for more details.

Back to Carers and Employment.