Carers in Paid Employment

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Page last updated 09/05/2023

Support in the workplace

Being in paid employment whilst caring can help maintain an income and pension rights, and provide you with an interest and social interaction outside of your caring role.  There are times, however when a carer may feel there is no other solution than to give up paid employment or reduce their hours to manage their caring role.  It is recommended you talk this through with your employer first.

It is costly to lose a trained and experienced member of staff and it can be good for both you and your employer to address the difficulties and come to an agreement of how work could adapt to accommodate your caring responsibilities.

Employers for Carers

Employers for Carers is an organisation backed by Carers UK. Their key purpose is to ensure that employers have the support to retain and manage employees with caring responsibilities. Link for > Employers for Carers

Local authority support

If you are looking to combine caring and work you may receive additional support by contacting the adult social care team for an assessment or a review of an existing assessment; either a carers assessment or a combined assessment with the person you care for.  Contact Southend Carers for further advice.

Flexible Working

The statutory employment rights, particularly relevant to carers, to help you stay in work whilst caring are:

  • the right to request flexible working
  • the right to time off in emergencies
  • the right to parental leave if you have a child
  • the right not to be discriminated against or harassed under the Equality Act.

If you are self-employed, on a short-term contract or employed through an agency you may not be covered by these rights.  If this applies to you it is important to seek advice.

All employees with 26 weeks of service have a statutory right to request flexible working.

Your employer must consider your request reasonably and have sound business reasons for turning down your request.

If you tell your employer why you would like to work flexibly you are more likely to identify a working arrangement that works for both you and your employer.

Types of flexible working are;

  • Part-time
  • Job Sharing
  • Flexi-time
  • Homeworking
  • Shift swapping
  • Annualised hours
  • Compressed hours
  • Staggered hours
  • Phased Retirement

Making a request.

  • Make your request in writing include an outline of the work pattern you would like.
  • State how the change will benefit you and the business and how any negative impact can be dealt with.
  • State the date on which you would like the proposed change to start.
  • State that it is a statutory request for flexible working and the dates, if any, of any previous requests.

    Link for > Government information on flexible working

Additional Support

  • In addition to your statutory rights your employer may offer more support for example you may be able to use leave arrangements paid or unpaid to cover intensive periods of care.
  • If you are thinking of giving up work some employers offer paid and/or unpaid career breaks, after a specified period of service with them. If this is possible it allows you to keep your options open, ensuring you can go back and it is a way to help you keep in touch with the workplace

Time off in an Emergency

An employee is entitled to time off to deal with an emergency, to care for someone who is dependent on them.  This does not include planned appointments or situations you knew about in advance. There is no set amount of time and no limit on how many times you can take time off for dependants however your employer does not have to pay you for the time.

Your employer must not treat you unfairly for taking time off to look after a dependant such as;

  • refusing you training or promotion
  • dismiss you or choose you for redundancy
  • refuse you reasonable time off


Other forms of leave which can be used to help care for a dependant are;

  • Parental leave
  • Compassionate leave
  • Annual leave

More information is on the government website;

Case study

Jim currently working permanently in Southend was concerned that changes taking place at work would mean he would be asked to go to the sites at Basildon and Colchester.  Although this request was within the terms of Jim’s contract, Jim regularly visited his mother in Southend straight after work to cook her evening meal. Jim spoke to his manager about his concerns.  Jim’s manager asked him to try the new arrangements for a trial period of 3 months which would then be reviewed.  He agreed for Jim to have a reserved on-site parking space and permission to leave 30 minutes early to avoid the rush hour traffic.