Carers’ rights

It is essential people looking after a family member or friend know their rights, and also that the wider community understands the role of carers and importance of their rights.

Not least because there are many people who look after a family member or friend who do not yet realise they are a carer. Many people may also know carers and not be aware of the vital, yet demanding, role that this can be.

If you are looking after a family member or friend find the information you can benefit from the following information about your rights:

  • Caring Together guide to carers’ rights: If you look after a family member or friend, it is important you understand your rights as a carer, and where you are able to access support when you need it. Read our guide below.
  • Carer’s card – be identified as a carer: The What If? card has been available for a few years but we have now made it dual purpose – it has become a carer’s card to identify you as someone looking after a family member or friend too.
  • Guide to Peterborough City Hospital for carers: Peterborough City Hospital produced a video to talk you through what you can expect if you look after a family member or friend who goes into the hospital, and emphasising the value of you making yourself know to staff as a carer.

Guide to carers’ rights

If you look after a family member or friend, it is important you understand your rights as a carer, and where you are able to access support when you need it.

Right to a carer’s assessment

The Care Act 2014 gives equal rights to adult carers as the person they are caring for. It gives carers the right to an assessment of their needs, and support to meet their eligible needs, as well as information and advice.

Your assessment is carried out by your local authority, whether or not the person you care for is supported by the local authority. You can request this at any stage of your carer journey.

During the assessment the assessor will talk to you about your caring role and look at the impact it is having on you. They will cover key areas including:

  • Whether you are willing and able to carry on providing care.
  • Whether your caring responsibilities have any impact on your wellbeing.
  • Whether you need any support.
  • What you would like to achieve in your day-to-day life. For example, you might want more time to take part in activities you enjoy.
  • Whether you qualify for any help from the council.

Based on the conversation with you, the local authority with work with you to create a support plan.

A support plan looks at what support is available to you and what will help you the most in your caring role. You may be allocated a direct payment to fund that support.

For more information…

Cambridgeshire County Council, tel: 0345 045 5202

Peterborough City Council, tel: 01733 747474

Carers Matter Norfolk, tel: 0800 083 1148

If you are a young carer or parent carer you also have the right to an assessment. Please call us on 01480 499090 for more information.

Rights at work

Trying to balance working with caring for a loved one can be challenging, so it is important to know what rights you may have.

Statutory rights are the law and everyone has them. Contractual rights are what are stated in your contract of employment. You will need to check your contract of employment to see what these are as they will vary dependant on the organisation.

It is up to you whether you inform your employer about your caring role, but you may find that by informing them, you may be entitled to support to manage leave arrangements. There may also be colleagues who also care for someone who can support you.

Some places of work have a carer’s policy. This may be recorded in your contract of employment, appointment letter or a staff handbook. We also encourage organisations to sign up to our Carer Friendly Tick Award.

You have the right to request flexible working if you have been employed by an organisation for 26 weeks or more. Flexible working may be home working, flexible hours, part-time hours, job sharing, term-time only, working from a different office, etc.

An employer must have seriously considered a statutory request for flexible working. To refuse the request there has to be a valid business reason. Some examples of why they may refuse are the organisation will not be able to meet the demands of customers, extra costs that can damage the business or the hours you are requesting there will not be enough work.

A carer has the right to time off in emergencies. You have the right to a reasonable amount of time to deal with an emergency situation.

This could be involving a family member, but also anyone that may depend on you. This may not be paid (you will need to check your contract of employment).

Protection from discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 protects people caring for someone who is an older person or who has a disability as they are associated with someone who is protected by law. For example, you could not be turned down for a job because of your caring role.

If you are caring for a child (under 18) and you have continuous employment with your employer for one year you are entitled to parental leave. This is usually unpaid.

Leave can be in blocks of one week, but also can be taken one day at a time. The maximum amount of leave is four weeks in a year, and you should give at least 21 days’ notice.

For more information…

For more information please contact us on 0345 241 0954 or at [email protected]