Carers and employment

Being a carer does not mean that you have to give up work. One in eight people in work is a carer and over half of carers who are not working say that they would like to.
However caring can make working difficult and one in five carers ends up stopping work. £5.3bn has been wiped from the economy in lost earnings due to people who've dropped out of the workforce to take on caring responsibilities.
If you work you should tell your employer that you are a carer. They may have carer friendly policies that help you achieve a better work/life balance.
Your local council may also be able to offer you support. They should take into account if you want to work, volunteer to continue your education when you have a carer’s assessment.

Right to flexible working

If you find it difficult to balance your work life with your caring responsibilities (and your other commitments) you may want to ask for flexible working.

Taking time off

You’re allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant known as ‘time off for dependants’ (for a spouse, partner, child, grandparent, parent or someone who depends on you for care).
It doesn’t matter how long you have worked for your employer, however you are only allowed a reasonable time off to deal with the emergency, for example, when:
  • someone falls ill or is injured,
  • someone dies, or
  • care arrangements for someone suddenly break down
You may not be paid if you take time and you should check with your employer what their policy is.
Taking time off for dependants does not include taking time off to take the person you care for to appointments you know about in advance, for example hospital appointments. You may have to take annual leave but check with your employer if they are any other types of leave that you could apply to take.
If you have to take leave try to give as much notice as possible so your employer can plan for your absence. Make sure that your employer knows why you need to take time off. 

Dealing with change

When there is a big change in the condition of the person you care for, your work life can be seriously disrupted and you may recognise that you are going to have to ask for some help. Find out more about dealing with change.
After caring – working or studying

Further information

Working Families is a charity that specialises in advice about flexible working and part-time working for parents and carers.
If you are an employer Employers for Carers looks at flexible working and wider issues facing carers who want to work.
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 carers in similar situations to yours. Find out more about Carers space.