Carers and employment

Over three million people in the UK combine work with caring responsibilities. Legislation from 2004 recognised the need for greater support to help these carers. Local Authorities should now take into account a carer's wish to work or undertake training when doing a Carers' Assessment. Taking on caring should not mean that you must automatically think you have to give up work.

Right to request flexible working

The Employment Act (2002) gave the right to request flexible working to working parents of children under the age of six (or 18 if the child has special needs).

From 6 April 2007 the government extended this right, so that it now also applies to employees who care for an adult. Find out more about the right to request flexible working for carers of adults.

Many employers already have flexible working policies as they recognise that this helps employees achieve a better work/life balance.

Further information on flexible / part-time working

To find out more about your legal rights around flexible working (e.g. childcare issues and other work-life balance considerations) see Directgov's information on flexible employment for carers.

Part-time workers have the same rights as their full time counterparts; the Directgov site also addresses these rights and what they mean for you.

The Employers for Carers site looks at flexible working and wider issues facing carers who want to work.

Working Families is a charity that specialises in advice on flexible working and part-time working for parents and carers.

Replacement care

In England, funding is available for replacement care and childcare costs for Jobcentre Plus approved training courses and interviews. This support is for all carers, whether you receive benefits or not.

For details of this funding and for more advice on combining work and caring, visit the Directgov website. The site includes contact details for your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Still can't find what you're looking for? Why not post a message on one of our discussion boards or join our online chat room. Here you can meet, and possibly pick up tips and advice from experienced family carers in similar situations to yours.