Work and career
Work can be important for your wellbeing, income and maintaining social contacts. Think carefully before giving up your job, it can provide you with financial security, time away and a sense of identity.
If you're balancing a paid job with caring for a family member or friend, you may need information about how your employer might be able to help you and your legal rights at work.
Managing work and care responsibilities can be very challenging, so it’s important to find out about your rights.
The law gives you ‘statutory rights’ which everyone has and includes:
- The right to request flexible working – if you have worked for an employer for 26 week (6 months) or more and have not made a flexible working request in the last 12 months. Requests should be made in writing and should include details of what revised working pattern you are seeking, how you think this may affect your role and how you think this can be managed. Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request.
- The right to time off in emergencies – all employees have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, which includes your partner, child, parent, others who live with you as part of your family and may include others that rely on you for help. Time off is usually unpaid, unless your employer includes any paid time in your work contract.
- Protection from discrimination – if you're looking after someone who is elderly or disabled you are protected under the Equality Act 2010. This protects you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring duties.
Your contract of employment gives you ‘contractual rights’ which can be more generous than statutory rights and it's always worth checking your contract of employment, staff handbook, HR policies or letter of appointment to see if you have any contractual rights on top of your statutory rights.
Before you make any decision to leave work or reduce your hours, it's important to consider the implications of doing this, and to explore any options which might make juggling work and care more manageable. Giving up work or reducing your hours could have an impact on your current financial situation and your future pension entitlement.
Gov UK has information about your statutory rights and carers benefits.